Tuesday 15 October 2019

Man who denies forging a will says he was told he would inherit the farm

Noel Hayes.
Noel Hayes.
William O'Leary
Charlie O'Leary who is the main prosecution witness.

A Wexford businessman accused of forging a will said the prosecution's witness was 'blinded with anger' against his own brother who is accused of forging the same will.

The accused, Noel Hayes, a vegetable wholesaler from Ramsgrange, Co Wexford said that the main prosecution witness Charles O'Leary's 'anger and vengeance against co-accused, William O'Leary, blinded every part of his life.'

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

Charles 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.

Aiden Doyle, SC, defending counsel, asked his client, Noel Hayes, what state of mind William O'Leary was in around the time his business relationship with his brother broke down. Mr Hayes said he was a 'tormented man'.

Charles O'Leary was awarded around €3m in a high court case against the company he had run with his brother. Noel Hayes said he was also a shareholder in a profitable vegetable company with Mr O'Leary but that he had wanted to close the business as William O'Leary was making money from it.

Mr Hayes said that when he voted against him to be stood down from that company's board of directors Charles O'Leary told him: 'I'll put you two fuckers in jail, or something to that effect. He was ranting and raving.'

Mr Hayes told his counsel that the O'Leary brothers were often fighting and he had to intervene on several occasions.

Mr Hayes told the trial that Matthew Hayes and two other relatives who lived on the farm had told him that they wanted him to inherit the farm before they died.

Mr Hayes said when the two other relatives had died, Matthew Hayes told him that he would give him the farm but that he did not want to use a solicitor for the will after having a bad experience with one.

Mr Hayes said he then told Charles O'Leary this. He said Mr O'Leary told him that he would not need a solicitor, only two witnesses. He said he and his brother William would act as witnesses.

Mr Hayes said the will was drawn up and signed on August 31 1998. Matthew Hayes died on Christmas Day of that year.

Mr Hayes said that in 2005 Charles O'Leary called him a 'greedy bastard' after he refused to give him money from a land deal which made a group, including William O'Leary, €6 million. Mr Hayes said that Charles O'Leary had refused on several occasions to go in on the deal when offered.

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

Wexford People