Two jailed for forging elderly man's will for land and cash
on 26/02/2013 00:00:00
In the case of William O'Leary the judge imposed a sentence of three years, with 18 months suspended for 18 months, and a compensation order of €200,000.
Judge Fullam also directed the restoration of the property to the county registrar.
In view of an irregularity on the issue before the court, he granted leave to appeal.
Noel Hayes, aged 59, of Ramsgrange, New Ross, Co Wexford, and William O'Leary, aged 49, of Kilhile, Arthurstown, New Ross, were found guilty at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court in January of forging the will of Matthew Hayes on a date between 1998 and 1999.
Both defendants had pleaded not guilty.
Judge Fullam said Mr Hayes, of Clonlard, Duncannon, New Ross, was 82 years old when he died. He was a single man who lived alone.
The will was dated Aug 31, 1998, with the estate left to Noel Hayes, while William O'Leary was the executor.
The assets consisted of 162 acres of land around Clonlard and Duncannon, and there was also some money in accounts.
Matthew Hayes became ill and died in Wexford General Hospital on Dec 25, 1998, and by virtue of the will, Noel Hayes realised the assets.
Philip Sheahan BL, prosecuting, claimed Matthew Hayes did not make a will on Aug 31, 1998.
Charles O'Leary, brother of William, told the court that, at Christmas 1998, he met William O'Leary and Noel Hayes. Noel Hayes told him Matthew Hayes was in hospital and probably would not survive.
Charles O'Leary said there was talk doing a will, with Noel Hayes saying he had a copy of Matthew Hayes's signature.
They got blank copies of wills. William O'Leary wrote out the will and Noel Hayes signed Matthew Hayes's name.
Charles O'Leary pleaded guilty at a previous court to his involvement in the forgery, and was given an 18-month suspended sentence and fined €30,000.