The case against five members of the Heaphy family was scheduled to go to trial by judge and jury yesterday and it had been estimated that it would have taken three to four weeks at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
However, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin told the jury panellists that they were not required after the five accused pleaded guilty to various charges related to the concealment of the source of money being the proceeds of crime.
Jonathan Heaphy, aged 34, of 131 St Coleman’s Rd, Farranree, Cork, pleaded guilty to the greatest number of charges, nine, out of the five accused yesterday. He admitted having cash sums of €29,500, €2,200, €650, and €3,000 at his home , and a post office account with a €10,500 balance; and a post office account in a juvenile’s name with a €10,010 balance. He also pleaded guilty to having €28,000 and €200 in cash and a post office account with just over €10,000 at 131 St Coleman’s Rd.
The wording on all charges is similar — stating that the accused engaged in concealing the source of funds, namely the particular amount of cash or the particular post office book with certain balance, knowing or being reckless as to whether it represented the proceeds of criminal conduct.
Daniel Heaphy, aged 20, of 59 Kerryhall Rd, pleaded guilty to having €10,000 in an An Post book located behind a kickboard at 131 St Coleman’s Road.
Helen Heaphy, aged 51, of 59 Kerryhall Rd, admitted having a post office book with about €6,000 in it.
Jessica Heaphy, aged 20, of 59 Kerryhall Rd, pleaded guilty to having €2,000 in cash and €4,000 in a post office book inside a cereal box at 11 Kerryhall Rd.
Nicole Heaphy of 131 St Coleman’s Rd admitted having a €2,000 post office book and cash of €28,000 and €200.
All five members of the family were remanded on bail until May 9 for sentencing. There was no application for any reports.
The case arises out an operation into money laundering by gardaí attached to the Divisional Fraud Investigation Unit at Anglesea St in Cork city, assisted by the Divisional Drug Unit and the Criminal Assets Bureau.
The seizures of cash and post office books were made in February and March 2014 in the course of searches at houses at 11 Kerryhall Rd, Fairhill, Cork, and 131 St Coleman’s Rd, Cork.
Solicitors were appointed to represent each of the accused on free legal aid when they were charged. Barristers were appointed in each case when the case was sent forward to Cork Circuit Criminal Court. Applications for senior counsel were initially refused.
However, when it emerged that the State would be prosecuting the case with a senior counsel Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin then acceded to applications by junior counsel for each of the accused to have free legal aid extended for a senior counsel for each defendant.
The charges are all brought under Section 7 of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010.