Garda accused of ATM scam to face another charge

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Brendan Phillips
Brendan Phillips

AN EXTRA charge is to be brought against a Dublin-based Garda who is awaiting trial for taking part in an alleged ATM scam.

Garda Brendan Phillips, 34, who is from Sligo but has an address at Charnwood Green, Clonsilla, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin District Court to three deception charges and two counts of attempted deception in connection with ATM withdrawals in March and April 2013.

An additional charge is to be put to him in two weeks in connection with the case, Judge Bryan Smyth was told today.

The court has heard it was alleged the former Sligo inter-county Gaelic footballer took €450 during the incidents.

He was due to face a two-day hearing in January; however, it was then adjourned after Dublin District Court was told that the garda's lawyers needed time to consider new evidence.

Judge Bryan Smyth had also agreed to a request from the defence for adjournment pending the outcome of a co-defendant's disciplinary proceedings.

Today, when the case was listed for mention, the defence told Judge Smyth it was understood a further charge is going to be brought against Mr Phillips whose presence had been excused.

State solicitor Rioghnach Corbett confirmed that “one charge is to be preferred” when the case is before the court again in two weeks.

Judge Smyth adjourned the case until then and also agreed to order that the trial would be held over two dates in June.

The court heard 26 prosecution witnesses will be called and CCTV evidence will also be used during the non-jury trial.

At an earlier stage in the proceedings, an outline of the allegations was given for the court to decide on the issue of jurisdiction. It was then ruled the case would be dealt with at district court level and not in the circuit court, which on conviction has tougher sentencing powers.

The DPP had also directed that the case should proceed in the district court.

Det Superintendent John Keane had said it was alleged that during the incidents in Dublin the defendant used his bank card to withdraw €170. He said the requested amount was dispensed in full and compromised three €50 notes and a €20 note.

Det Supt Keane had said it was alleged the notes were “manipulated” and €150 was taken out while the remaining €20 was left in the machine's dispensing tray.

“The machine is programmed to automatically retract that money into the retracting tray,” he had said.

“At that time the machine was unable to identify how much money was taken back into the machine. It is flagged as an extraordinary transaction and the full value is refunded to the account,” Det Supt Keane had said.

Another garda has been convicted and fined by the court in December for his role in the theft.