herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

PA who stole Clayton's €2.8m appeals

adam Clayton's former personal assistant must wait to hear the outcome of an appeal against her conviction and seven-year sentence for theft from the U2 bass guitarist.

Carol Hawkins (51), originally from North London but with a last address at Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin, was jailed in 2012 on 181 counts of theft from two of Mr Clayton's Bank of Ireland accounts over a four-year period from 2004 to 2008. The thefts totalled €2,869,274.

The trial court heard Hawkins used the money to buy and maintain 22 racehorses, a €310,000 New York apartment, holidays, education for her children and shopping sprees. She also spent €1.4 million on her credit card funded from Mr Clayton's accounts.

In the Court of Criminal Appeal yesterday, Hawkins appealed her conviction and sentence on multiple grounds including inadequacies in the disclosure process of her trial, the refusal to exclude witnesses from court during cross-examination and the admission of prejudicial evidence.

Kenneth Fogarty SC, for Hawkins, said the privacy afforded to Mr Clayton during the trial in 2012 "effectively hamstrung" her defence.

tailor

Referring to the trial judge's refusal to exclude either Mr Clayton or a former accountant of his during cross-examination, Mr Fogarty said the exclusion of witnesses which would normally take place "if there was a possibility they might tailor their evidence" did not happen Hawkins' trial.

In opposing the appeal, Colm O'Briain BL for the DPP said the consent given to Ms Hawkins by Mr Clayton to write cheques was limited. He said Mr Clayton initially left cheques for Ms Hawkins to pay household expenses and later gave her signing rights because small suppliers needed to be paid.

Mr O'Brian said defence counsel avoided addressing the limitations of the relationship between Mr Clayton and Ms Hawkins and for what purposes she was entitled to spend the money and use the accounts in question.

Mr Justice Peter Charleton, presiding alongside Mr Justice Michael Moriarty and Mr Justice Peter Kelly, reserved their judgment "in light of the importance of the points raised".

hnews@herald.ie

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