Postmaster accused of €53k theft

A former postmaster at Crosshaven post office appeared at Cork District Court yesterday on sample charges arising out of the alleged theft of payments to pensioners using the post office.

Postmaster accused of €53k theft

While the sample charges relate to amounts totalling €2,737, Inspector Bill Duane said it was alleged that “up to €53,000 was stolen during a number of years”. He said the 14 charges before the court were only sample charges. They relate to amounts of around €230 on each theft charge. One refers to an amount of €130.

Sergeant Gerard O’Callaghan brought the charges against Adrian O’Driscoll, aged 66, of 4 Carrigdhoun, Waterpark, Carrigaline.

Judge Leo Malone asked for an outline of the allegations in the case so that he could determine whether it could be dealt with at the district court or Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Insp Duane gave an outline of the background to the alleged offences. “These charges relate to incidents at Crosshaven post office while the defendant was the master of the post office. It is alleged that they relate to incidents between March and July 2013 [the period covered by the sample charges], and that he took money from customers — State and widow pensions — without their consent.

“These were vulnerable, aged, and trusting pensioners, and children’s allowance recipients,” said Insp Duane.

He outlined claims of how the alleged offences were committed. “If they had six pension payments built up, he would tell them they had five,” said Insp Duane. “He would retain the final payment for his own use. He would use the recipient’s codes to access the money after they left.”

Insp Duane said it was the observation of a children’s allowance recipient in the post office that gave rise to an investigation by An Post and An Garda Síochána after she made a complaint.

Judge Leo Malone refused to accept jurisdiction to deal with the case at Cork District Court.

Aoife McCarthy, defending, urged the judge to consider the charges individually and the fact the individual sums were not large. Referring to the alleged total amount, Ms McCarthy said: “While the overall amount is significant he did pay it back.”

Judge Malone said: “I am considering the context of the charges and because of the facts alleged they are not minor offences.”

Insp Duane asked for the case to be adjourned for further directions from the DPP. Judge Malone put the case back to September 18.

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