Trial of public health nurse for alleged €11k theft collapses

Deirdre Kenneally, 47, of Leitrim, Kilworth, County Cork pictured at Cork Circuit Court. Pic Daragh Mc SweeneyCork Courts

The trial collapsed today of a public health nurse on trial by judge and jury for the alleged theft of over €11,000 from a patient in her eighties.

Today was the sixth day of the trial of Deirdre Kenneally, 47, of Leitrim, Kilworth, County Cork, who pleaded not guilty to 59 theft charges and three other related charges.

Judge Gerard O’Brien discharged the jury of five women and seven men at Cork Circuit Criminal Court shortly after the trial recommenced this morning.

The decision by the judge to discharge the jury followed legal discussion in the absence of the jury.

The case against the defendant was then adjourned to the October sessions of Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

The last evidence the defence heard was from the defendant herself. The prosecution had closed its case and the defence called the accused who spent almost all of yesterday in the witness box.

During her testimony, Deirdre Kenneally said, “I never dishonestly took anything from Alice Twomey. Anything I took was monies owed to me as logged in my small diary.

There is no greater insult as a nurse than to be told that you had stolen from a patient, from someone that you are helping. There is nothing more cruel or insulting that could be said about me.

Defence barrister Tom Power asked her what was the arrangement she had with Ms Twomey. She said they rounded it off to €300 a week for ten hours a week which she would fit in on evenings and weekends around her nine to five nursing job.

“I entered into the arrangement with her in a private capacity. As she was getting the services she would prefer I would accept the payments. They were her wishes,” the defendant testified.

She said Ms Twomey gave her her debit card so that she (the defendant) could pay herself and buy whatever was necessary for her (Ms Twomey).

Cross-examining the defendant, prosecution barrister Donal McCarthy, said, “The prosecution case is that when you made withdrawals when the lady was in hospital you had the card and you took advantage of it and you took the money. You took out €8,640 when the lady was in hospital and in the nursing home between May 2016 and July 2016.”

Deirdre Kenneally replied, “All the withdrawals were made for monies owed… I don’t think all of those withdrawals are my withdrawals. All the withdrawals made were for monies owed to me.”

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