Corrupt ex-garda loses appeal over conviction for bogus insurance claim
A corrupt ex-garda jailed for deception in relation to an insurance claim for a car crash that never happened has lost an appeal against his conviction.
John Joe Synnott (61), with an address at Camblin Hill, New Ross, Co Wexford, had pleaded not guilty at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court to three charges relating to a reported road traffic accident on September 9, 2007 which prosecuting lawyers said never happened.
He was found guilty by a jury on all counts and was sentenced to three years imprisonment with the final two suspended by Judge Alice Doyle on June 30, 2011.
Synnott was the investigating officer when he reported that an Audi A4 travelling towards New Ross collided with a parked Subaru Imprezza. Two claims were paid out by AXA Insurance, totalling €23,352.
During the trial, he had admitted calling the garda information service to report the accident and that he had not attended the scene.
The link between the two drivers and John Joe Synnott was a Joe Redmond - a partner of one of the supposed drivers, a lifelong friend of John Joe Synnott as well as a known criminal, according to the evidence of a retired Superintendent at trial.
Joe Redmond's wife, from whom he was separated, was Beverley Redmond, the owner and alleged driver of the Audi vehicle, while Joe Redmond's girlfriend was Lorraine Quinlan, the owner of the Subaru vehicle.
Beverley Redmond received €9,910 and Lorraine Quinlan received €13,422 in compensation for damage allegedly caused. The ultimate payer was AXA Insurance Co Ltd.
The prosecution case was that Synnott consciously and deliberately assisted the drivers and Joe Redmond in the perpetration of a fraud by procuring the creation of a PULSE incident report and by completing a Traffic Accident Prelminary Report in respect of the non-existant accident.
These, the prosecution contended, were intended to provide a paper trail in the event of one or both of the insurers seeking verification.
"As it happened, no request for verification or other enquiry concerning the alleged accident was received from the insurers…before the claims were paid," according to a judgment handed down by the Court of Appeal today.
Synnott had sought to appeal his conviction on a number of grounds related to the trial judge's instructions to the jury but Mr Justice John Edwards said the three-judge court was unable to uphold any of his grounds.
Mr Justice Edwards, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, dismissed the appeal.
Synnott had been granted bail in October 2011 pending his appeal but he was lead away to serve the balance of his sentence after judgment was delivered.
The court heard that Synnott is presently in custody on another matter, the details of which were not outlined in court. He is no longer a serving garda.
Synnott was found guilty of causing loss by deception by dishonestly inducing AXA Insurance to pay financial compensation in respect of an alleged road traffic accident at Newtown Road, Wexford on September 9, 2007.
He had also been found guilty of corruption in office by falsely representing that a road traffic accident had occured at Newtown Road, Wexford on September 9, 2007 and providing false information for the purpose of advantage to himself or another.
He was also convicted of knowingly using a document as a garda containing a false statement with intent to deceive and mislead to wit the report of a road traffic accident said to have occured at Newtown Road, Wexford on September 9, which was false.