Wednesday 26 October 2016

Ex-console boss Kelly in psychiatric care but wife is in court as judge freezes assets

Console’s founder Paul Kelly did not appear in court
Console’s founder Paul Kelly did not appear in court
Patricia Kelly, wife of former Console boss Paul Kelly, arriving at the Four Courts for the High Court action

Untangling the complicated finances of Console will prove "doubly difficult" following the hospitalisation of the suicide charity's founder, the High Court has been told.

Solicitor James MacGuill, who only came on record for Paul Kelly and his wife Patricia minutes before a High Court hearing yesterday, said Mr Kelly was being treated as an inpatient at a psychiatric facility.

The disclosure comes after weeks of controversy surrounding Mr Kelly's stewardship of the charity.

Mr MacGuill's clients have until Monday afternoon to comply with a number of orders for the disclosure of information to interim Console CEO David Hall.

This includes details of asset transfers dating back to January 2012, as well as details of bank accounts and companies, trusts and foundations they may have been involved in.

Log-in details for a Paypal account operated by the charity must also be handed over.

Mr MacGuill had sought two weeks to compile the information.

However, this was strenuously objected to by counsel for Console, Martin Hayden SC, who said Mr and Mrs Kelly had "shown themselves to be untrustworthy" and there had been "no transparency" around what had been done with funds donated to the charity.

"The longer this goes on, the more difficult it will be to get to the bottom of things," said Mr Hayden.

Mr MacGuill told Mr Justice Paul Gilligan he was afraid that he may not be able to provide full information if the timeframe was tight.

Referring to Mr Kelly's hospitalisation, he said: "This would be difficult in the normal course of events. But it is now doubly difficult due to the medical situation."

However, Mr Justice Gilligan observed that even though Mr Kelly was hospitalised, his wife Patricia was available to assist.

Although Mr Kelly was a notable absentee from court, his wife was present, sitting in the public gallery throughout. She made no comment as she left afterwards.


At the hearing, Mr Justice Gilligan extended injunctions obtained last week against Mr and Mrs Kelly, freezing their access to the charity accounts.

The judge also made an order freezing their assets after being told that Mr Hall had lost any remaining confidence after a search of a lock-up revealed numerous documents, cheque books and keys.

Mr Hall had previously been told that all relevant material had been handed over to him last Saturday.

Mr Justice Gilligan also ordered that the couple's son, Tim Kelly, be joined as a defendant in the action and placed an interim freezing order over his assets.

Tim Kelly was described in court as "the link" between Console and a similarly-named UK charity.

Another defendant, Mr Kelly's sister Joan McKenna, who denies she had any involvement in running the Console company, did not oppose the continuation of injunctions against her.

Counsel for Console said Patricia Kelly had given an assurance, relayed to Mr Hall last Saturday, that all of the charity's accounts and documents had been surrendered.

Mr Hayden said CCTV footage shown to Mr Hall at a storage unit in Naas, following a tip-off, clearly showed Mr and Mrs Kelly attending the premises last week.

When Mr Hall gained access to the unit with aid of gardai, he discovered 300 hanging folders for filing cabinets, 30 desk folders, 50 ring binders, a Dell laptop, 25 cheque books, a petty cash box, 40 keys, a briefcase and numerous CDs, DVDs and photographs.

The court was told that as so much material was found, a van rather than a car was required to transport it from the lock-up.

Mr Hall has not yet had time to inspect all of the material due to the sheer volume of what was recovered, but it was clear it related to Console.

"It became instantly evident that the documents and articles in the container were the property of Console," he said in an affidavit. The documents are currently secured by information technology forensic experts, Mr Hall said.

Mr Hall accused Mr and Mrs Kelly of being involved in a tactical and considered web of deceit. He said that since taking over as interim boss of the charity, he had found further detail of a prolonged abuse of public trust and public money.


He said staff had informed him the charity had an interest in an eight-bedroom property in Oughterard, Co Galway, yet no documents in relation to this had been made available.

Mr Hall said he was making further inquiries into properties linked to the charity in Dublin, Cork and Tralee.

"I have reason to believe there are numerous properties around the country," he said.

Meanwhile, the court was told that Mr Kelly's sister Joan McKenna, was denying any involvement in the charity.

Her name was listed in accounts as being a director of the charity. But the court heard the only thing that connected her to the governance of Console were the Companies Registration Office records.

Mr Hayden said he understood it was being suggested Ms McKenna's signature had been forged. The case against her was adjourned for two weeks.

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