2 WEXFORD MEN ACCUSED OF FORGING WILL ACQUITTED
Two Wexford businessmen accused of forging a will have been acquitted at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
61 year-old Noel Hayes and 51 year-old William O’Leary – who are from New Ross – pleaded not guilty to forging the will of Matthew Hayes on a date between December 1998 and January 1999.
The jury of eight men and four women returned the not guilty verdict to Judge Patricia Ryan after nearly two and a half hours deliberation. It was day-nine of the trial.
The prosecution’s main witness Charlie O’Leary previously pleaded guilty and received an 18 month suspended sentence and was ordered to pay 30,000 euro into an account pending for the next of kin.
He had spent four days in the witness box and gave evidence to the court that the will was not signed until a week after Matthew Hayes had died. Mr O’Leary said that Noel Hayes had wanted to “put right” an old land dispute in the family.
Noel Hayes told the jury that he was “the meat in the sandwich” in a vendetta by Charlie O’Leary against his brother William.
The court heard that the O’Learys had a “bitter and distrustful” business relationship which resulted in a number of legal disputes, some of which are still ongoing.