Deirdre Brady, who is married to a senior Kinahan Cartel member known as 'Mr Nobody', is to be jailed after the Court of Appeal found on Thursday that her original suspended sentence for helping to launder almost €800,000 in crime cash was too lenient.
Mother of three Brady (55), of The Bailey, Castlefarm, Naas, Co Kildare, was given a three-year wholly suspended sentence after pleading guilty to two offences contrary to Section 7 of Criminal Justice Act at the Special Criminal Court in July of last year.
Brady went on trial at the three-judge court alongside her husband Declan Brady (56), who was jailed for seven years and three months for laundering cash for a criminal organisation.
A third accused, Declan Brady's mistress Erika Lukacs, also received a three-year fully suspended sentence for her role in laundering almost €200,000.
The sentencing court heard that Brady and his wife laundered crime cash through transfers that included mortgage payments on a Spanish holiday property, a wedding at Druid's Glen and transfers to other gang members.
A bar tab and room bills for €27,000 from the wedding were paid for in cash, while both Brady and his wife declared no income to the Revenue over the period in question, the court also heard.
On Thursday at the Court of Appeal, Brady's sentence was quashed, and she was ordered to serve one year in jail beginning in January.
After hearing the State's appeal against the leniency of Deirdre Brady's sentence in February, Court of Appeal President Mr Justice George Birmingham asked: “Did she [Brady] think the money was coming from heaven, or from a fairy godmother?"
The 17 laundering offences were committed between January 2014 and December 2014 and involved concealing or disguising the true nature or source of €770,000, which had been the proceeds of criminal conduct.
In sentencing the two women at the Special Criminal Court, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said the pair did not receive custodial terms because they did not participate in the underlying criminality that was the source of the cash.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) then appealed the sentence handed down to Deirdre Brady on the grounds that it was unduly lenient.
In delivering the Court of Appeal ruling on Thursday, Mr Justice John Edwards said the court would quash the sentence from the Special Criminal Court and re-sentence Brady.
Gravity of case
Mr Justice Edwards said the DPP submitted that the overall gravity of the case meant the custody threshold had been "unquestionably" passed and that the fully-suspended sentence amounted to an error in principle.
"While the evidence does not suggest that the respondent had any detailed knowledge of the organisation with which her husband was involved, or concerning precisely what criminal activity it was engaged in, the respondent was nonetheless aware that her husband was receiving undeclared income from what, at the very least, she must have suspended to be criminal activities," said Mr Justice Edwards.
"She benefited from the proceeds of those illicit monies, in that they were used in part to fund the mortgage on the family home and to pay for the lavish wedding of a close relative. As the presiding judge observed, the obvious question arises as to 'where did she think this manna from heaven was coming from?'," said Mr Justice Edwards.
The judge also noted that Brady was "not entirely passive" in the enterprise in that she was "actively" involved in the management of a property in Spain funded by undeclared income.
The judge identified six years' imprisonment as a headline sentence for Brady and gave her a four-year discount "to reflect the substantial mitigating circumstances in the case, to include the early plea of guilt".
Mr Justice Edwards said the final 12 months of the two-year jail term would be suspended for two years upon her release, during which she is to be of good behaviour.
Mr Justice Edwards said the suspended portion was in "the furtherance of promoting the respondent's reform in circumstances where she is a first-time offender and we believe her to represent a low risk of reoffending".
Mr Justice Edwards then put a stay on the beginning of the one-year jail sentence after an application from Mr Bowman relating to Brady's role in caring for children in the wider family.
At the hearing of the appeal, Fiona Murphy SC, for the DPP, said the offences involved four bank accounts: a joint PTSB account which Brady held with her husband, and which contained €94,000; an Ulster bank account, which held €347,000; an AIB account, with €205,000 lodged in it; and a Bank of Ireland account containing €85,000.
There was also a sum of €34,000, which had been transferred to the Druids Glen resort to pay for a family wedding, while €141,000 had been transferred to an Irish citizen residing in Spain known as Thomas Kavanagh, whom Ms Murphy said was known to gardai.
The total amount involved was €770,499, counsel said.
“This was a significant amount of money, over a significant period of time,” she added.
Ms Murphy also said there was nothing to suggest Brady had been under the “coercive control” of her husband, whom Mr Justice Birmingham described during submissions as a “high-end offender”.
She said that there was “no two ways about it” that the money deposited in the accounts had derived from “serious criminality”, and there was no evidence to suggest Brady had been pressurised by her husband to open these accounts.
There might not have been the Gucci handbag or Chanel jewellery, but Brady enjoyed a standard of living that might not have been available to her otherwise
“There might not have been the Gucci handbag or Chanel jewellery, but Brady enjoyed a standard of living that might not have been available to her otherwise,” said Ms Murphy.
Michael Bowman SC, for Brady, had told the three-judge court that in order to establish undue leniency, the State must demonstrate that the original sentence was “a substantial or gross departure from the norm”.
Describing the sentence his client received as being “a close-run thing”, Mr Bowman said the judges sitting at the Special Criminal Court had a “considerable degree of experience in dealing with matters of this nature”.
His client’s husband, counsel continued, had worked for “the most serious criminal organisation this country has ever known” and had been a “malign influence” on her life.
Brady, who is in receipt of social welfare and taking medication for mental health problems, does not live beyond her means and does not even own a car even though she can drive, he added.
His client, Mr Bowman said, had fully cooperated with the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) and was forced to sell the family home in Celbridge – which had been “legitimately purchased” in the 1980s with help from her father – as a part of the CAB agreement.
Declan Brady, known as 'Mr Nobody', last of The Park, Wolstan Abbey, Celbridge, Co Kildare, had pleaded guilty to concealing cash to the value of €268,940 in the attic of The Dairy, Rathasker Road, Naas, Co Kildare, on January 24th, 2017.
He was already serving 11-and-a-half years in prison after he admitted supervising a firearms arsenal including an assault rifle and thousands of rounds of ammunition that had been stashed in a Dublin business park.