A judge has dismissed the case against a man accused of stealing money from a cash machine because he said the State had failed to prove the bank existed.
Judge Patrick McCartan also said the prosecution had failed to prove Ulster Bank did not consent to multiple withdrawals of €13,600.
Sheshi Kota, aged 40, withdrew the cash on June 12, 2012, when the bank was experiencing a computer systems fault that allowed customers of the bank to withdraw an unlimited amount of money without restriction without any reduction in their account balance.
In 30 minutes, Mr Kota, formerly of Batchelor’s Walk, Dublin, made 23 withdrawals. He later told gardaí he considered it an overdraft and denied stealing it.
Mr Kota had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 23 counts of stealing cash, the property of “Ulster Bank Ireland Ltd.” on June 22, 2012, at an Ulster Bank ATM at College Green, Dublin.
Rory Staines, defending, told the court that all his client had done was put his bank card in and withdrew cash. He said the systems fault was not a result of something Mr Kota did.
The money was repaid by Mr Kota after the garda became involved in 2014.
Judge McCartan directed the jury to find the accused not guilty on all counts. He told the jury that proving an offence of theft must include a technical proof of the existence of an entity capable of ownership.
There was evidence of various entities associated with Ulster Bank, but there was no documentary proof of a properly incorporated legal entity called “Ulster Bank Ireland Ltd” put before the jury, he said.
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