The Appeal Court yesterday dismissed Ms Hawkins’ appeal against her conviction for theft from the U2 bass guitarist. The court is expected to rule in the next few days on her appeal against the severity of the seven-year sentence imposed on her by Judge Patrick McCartan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in July 2012.
Hawkins, 51, originally from North London but with a last address at Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin was convicted of 181 counts of theft from two of Mr Clayton’s Bank of Ireland accounts over a four-year period from 2004 to 2008.
The thefts totalled just over €2.8m.
She used the money to purchase and maintain 22 thoroughbred racehorses, a €310,000 New York apartment, holidays, education for her children and shopping sprees.
She also spent €1.4m on her credit card funded from Mr Clayton’s accounts.
Mr Justice Peter Charleton, presiding, alongside Mr Justice Michael Moriarty and Mr Justice Peter Kelly in the Court of Criminal Appeal upheld Hawkins’ conviction and dismissed all grounds of her appeal against the conviction.
Mr Justice Charleton said there was “sufficient evidence which would allow the jury convict Hawkins of the offences of which she was in fact convicted”. Judge McCartan could not be found to have fallen into an error that would render the conviction unsafe, the Appeal Court also found.
Neither Ms Hawkins, who at her trial denied the charges, nor Mr Clayton, was present in court for the judgment.
Her lawyers argued the conviction was unsafe on grounds including that there were inadequacies in the disclosure process of her trial, the refusal to exclude witnesses from court during cross-examination and the admission of prejudicial evidence against her.
The DPP opposed the appeal.
Following the dismissal of the appeal against conviction, the Court of Criminal Appeal heard submissions on the appeal against the severity of the seven-year prison sentence.
Ken Fogarty SC, for Ms Hawkins said she would have to “change her identity” in order to attain any degree of anonymity after she is released from the Dóchas Centre.
Counsel said in the two years and three months she had been in prison, she had been “a model prisoner”.
The DPP has opposed the appeal and says Judge McCartan took account of all relevant factors, including that she had pleaded not guilty. Colm Ó Briain BL for the DPP argued the seven-year sentence was “proper and appropriate” given the serious nature of the offences. The sentence imposed on Ms Hawkins, counsel further submitted, was not without light at the end of the tunnel.