Former St Vincent’s Hospital worker facing 540 theft and deception charges

A FORMER staff member at St Vincent’s University Hospital (SVUH) is to face trial accused of more than 540 theft and deception offences.

erard Russell (54) of New Park Road, Blackrock, in south Dublin was granted bail after he was charged at Donnybrook Garda station three weeks ago.

His case had its first listing at a recent sitting of Dun Laoghaire District Court.

He did not have to attend, due to Covid-19 restrictions on court attendance, but was represented by solicitor James MacGuill.

Garda Adrian Coffey, of Donnybrook station, said there were 546 charges in total, all under the Theft and Fraud Offences Act.

Judge Ann Watkin heard that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed trial on indictment in the circuit court.

Mr Russell is accused of theft of various sums of money belonging to SVUH and deception for his own gain, which includes allegations he induced Amazon UK marketplace to provide various goods on a number of dates.

Mr MacGuill said the offences alleged date back to 2014, the investigation commenced in 2016, and his client was charged two weeks ago.

He said there was already an issue of delay when the garda asked for the DPP’s office to be granted 10 weeks to complete the book of evidence.

The solicitor said the DPP could have waited until it was ready before his client was charged.

Granting the Garda’s request, Judge Watkin said she was entitled to allow the 10-week adjournment and that was not unreasonable due to the number of charges.

She remanded Mr Russell on continuing bail in his absence to appear on October 6 next to be served with the book of evidence.

Judge Watkin acceded to Mr MacGuill’s request to direct gardai to provide disclosure of interview videos.

A ruling on a legal aid application was deferred until the next date.

Mr MacGuill said his client had provided a statement of means three weeks ago, but a Garda query over it was later raised.

Garda Coffey said he was not objecting to legal aid, but he said the statement of means was not complete, and that the stated salary did not match the accused’s job description.

Mr MacGuill explained his client had rented a room for €500 a month to a student who is about to move out.

Judge Watkin said the earnings needed to be vouched.

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