Sunday 15 September 2019

Forged will trial hears that one brother had a 'vendetta' against the other

Noel Hayes
Noel Hayes

A Wexford businessman on trial for allegedly forging the will of a bachelor farmer said another man pleaded guilty to the crime because he had a 'vendetta' against his own brother and he was the 'meat in the sandwich'.

On the seventh day of the trial Noel Hayes, a vegetable wholesaler from Ramsgrange, Co Wexford was being cross examined by Philip Sheahan SC, prosecuting.

Mr Hayes (61) and William O'Leary (51) from New Ross, Co Wexford have pleaded not guilty to forging the will of Matthew Hayes on a date between December 1998 and January 1999.

The main prosecution witness, Charlie O'Leary, previously pleaded guilty and received an 18 month suspended sentence and was ordered to pay €30,000 into an account pending for the next of kin.

Mr Hayes was asked why he was caught up in the case if Charlie O'Leary's motivation was against his brother.

'The vendetta was against his brother, I was the meat in the sandwich. When I didn't pull with Charlie to take William down, I became the meat in the sandwich,' Mr Hayes said.

The court heard Charlie O'Leary received around €3m in a high court settlement against the company he ran with his brother William. Mr Hayes, who also ran a business with Charlie O'Leary, said that he wanted to set up a competing business with that money.

Counsel put it to the accused that Charlie O'Leary's evidence was that Mr Hayes' motivation for allegedly forging the will was to get back land which had been taken from Mr Hayes' part of the family in previous generations. Mr Hayes said he knew nothing about that.

Counsel asked Mr Hayes if he thought it was odd that Mr O'Leary would 'concoct' a story that exposed himself to imprisonment and 'shop his best friend' because of a vendetta with his brother.

Mr Hayes said for a normal person he would but not for Charlie O'Leary. Mr Hayes said 'nothing mattered to him except to bring down his brother and he would die in doing it'.

Counsel said that the reason Mr Hayes repeatedly asked Mr O'Leary to get involved in a land deal in 2004 was because he was anxious that the will had not been executed yet. Mr Hayes denied this and said he wanted him to be involved because he was a 'lifelong friend'.

The trial continues before Judge Patricia Ryan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Wexford People