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Corrupt garda appeals conviction over 'bogus car crash linked to well-known criminal'

CourtsBy Sunday World
John Joe Synnott
John Joe Synnott

A corrupt garda jailed for deception in relation to an insurance claim for a car crash that never happened has moved to appeal his conviction.

John Joe Synnott (60), 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 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 Joseph 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.

Synnott was granted bail in October 2011 pending an appeal against conviction, which was opened in the Court of Appeal today on a number of grounds.

His barrister, John O'Kelly SC, submitted to the Court of Appeal that the trial judge ought to have directed the jury to find his client not guilty, that the trial judge did not correctly define "induced" to the jury and that the judge failed to properly charge the jury that each element of the offence must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr Justice John Edwards, said the court would reserve judgment.

Synnott had denied causing loss by deception by dishonestly inducing AXA Insurance to paying financial compensation in respect of an alleged road traffic accident at Newtown Road, Wexford on September 9, 2007.

He had also pleaded not guilty to 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.

Synnott further pleaded not guilty to knowingly using a document containing a false statement with intent to decieve 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.