The hearing of evidence in the corruption trial of former Dublin City and County Assistant Manager, Mr George Redmond, has ended and the jury is scheduled to begin its deliberations on Tuesday next after being addressed by counsel and by Judge Michael White.
The jury was told on day 10 of the trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that there was no significance in the reference "Fassnidge 88A / 500" in Mr Redmond's 1988 official diary.
Mr Tom Doherty, who was principal officer in the Dublin County Council's development section, was replying to defence counsel Mr Brendan Grehan SC (with Mr Angus Buttanshaw BL) about the reference which was on the page for May 6, 1988 in the diary.
Mr Doherty said "88A / 500" was the number of the council's file concerning an application for planning permission from car salesman Mr Brendan Fassnidge for a petrol station on the then new Lucan by-pass at Palmerstown.
One of the conditions of planning permission was that Mr Fassnidge acquire a strip of land from the council as a right-of-way.
Mr Doherty, who is now Assistant Manager of South Dublin County Council, said it would have been a dereliction of his duty if he had not informed the chief valuation officer, Mr Michael McCloone, that Mr Redmond had suggested they should ask for £120,000 for the right-of-way.
The witness agreed he knew Mr McCloone believed there should be no charge for the strip of land and said that in his view also it was worthless except to Mr Fassnidge.
When a figure of £10,000 was agreed, he discussed it with Mr Redmond due to the wide variation between it and the £120,000 first suggested. There was nothing unusual about that discussion, he said.
Mr Doherty added, in further reply to Mr Grehan, that it was his own decision, under the powers delegated to him by the county manager, Mr Frank Feely, to accept the £10,000 charge and he was not put under any pressure by Mr Redmond concerning it.
Mr Grehan noted that the council officials in general were totally opposed to the petrol station proposal from the start and that the council's roads department had suggested looking for a payment of £71,500 for the strip of land.
Mr Doherty replied there was "a vein of thought within the council to frustrate and obstruct" the petrol station going ahead and the £71,500 demand was one way of doing this, but he opposed it.
"I felt we should not obstruct the will of the councillors who had passed a 'Section 4' motion directing the county manager to grant planning permission for this project," he said.
Detective Garda Martin Harrington told Mr Grehan that Mr Fassnidge had previous convictions under the Road Traffic Acts from 1988 to 1996, but none for criminal offences.
Det Gda Harrington said Mr Fassnidge had been convicted twice for driving while drunk, twice for driving without insurance, twice for dangerous driving and three times for failing to give samples.
Mr Fassnidge had been disqualified from driving for one year on two occasions in 1988; for three years in 1989; for five years in 1990; for 15 years in 1995; and for two years in 1996. He had his licence restored on appeal on various occasions.
Det Gda Harrington told Mr Grehan that Mrs Geraldine Fassnidge, the wife of Mr Fassnidge, had declined to make a statement to gardaí on the issue in this case.
He agreed he took five statements from Mr Fassnidge but denied there was any attempt by gardaí to force Mr Fassnidge to change his statements, as he had suggested in his evidence.
Prosecuting lawyers sometimes needed clarification and would ask gardaí to seek more information. He agreed the investigation into Mr Redmond began on February 18, 1999 but said he had not read the Sunday Business Post article by Frank Connolly which was published on March 3, 1999.
Det Gda Harrington told prosecuting counsel, Mr Patrick J McCarthy SC (with Mr Patrick McGrath BL), that no bank records relating to the dates in this case could be recovered because banks were not obliged to keep them beyond six years.
Mr Redmond (aged 79), has pleaded not guilty to two charges alleging he got £10,000 from Mr Fassnidge relating to the sale of a right-of-way from Dublin County Council at the Lucan bypass.
Mr Redmond denies that while an agent or servant of the Council of the County of Dublin, a public body, he corruptly received a gift of money from Mr Fassnidge on a date between June 1, 1987 and May 31, 1988 as an inducement or reward for doing or forbearing to do anything in respect of the sale of a right of way at Palmerstown, by the Council of the County of Dublin.
He also denies that as an agent he corruptly accepted for himself a gift of money as an inducement or reward for showing favour to another, namely Mr Fassnidge, in relation to the said principal's affairs, namely the sale of the right of way.