Court to hear Catherine O’Brien judicial review case 

Court to hear Catherine O’Brien judicial review case 

Catherine O'Brien was convicted under Section 12(1) of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013. Picture: The Irish Mail on Sunday

A judicial review case relating to the conviction of Corkwoman Catherine O’Brien for animal welfare breaches relating to horses is due before the High Court on Tuesday.

The proceedings against the Director of Public Prosecutions relate to her conviction, in her absence, of more than 30 counts of animal welfare breaches.

A bench warrant was issued for her arrest at Gorey District Court in June 2021, following her conviction on 34 counts of animal cruelty under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013. 

This related to the seizure of thoroughbred horses in a malnourished state in Ballygarrett in Wexford in 2019.

The judge opted not to sentence her in her absence when the case was in court over a year ago, and the bench warrant remains live.

She was convicted under Section 12(1) of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013. 

Under the act, there are penalties of up to €250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.

Also under the legislation, a convicted person can be the subject of an order from the judge disqualifying them from “owning, having any interest in, keeping, dealing in or having charge or control, directly or indirectly, of an animal”.

Ms O’Brien initiated legal proceedings in July 2021.

The case has been adjourned 10 times since November 2021, including on October 25.

The case is up for mention before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Tuesday.

Twenty-five of the horses remain in the care of the Irish Horse Welfare Trust.

In February, the High Court ruled that a 151-registered Land Rover Discovery could be seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau after bureau officers alleged that Catherine O’Brien had bought it through the proceeds of criminal fraud.

She appealed the decision by Mr Justice Alexander Owens and it was listed for directions in the Court of Appeal in Dublin on June 24. However, a spokesman for the Courts Service said the appeal never actually went for hearing.

Instead, it was struck out, subject to an ‘Unless Order’, on July 15.

Listen: When in Rome - How fraudster Catherine O'Brien brought one of her marks to an audience with Pope Benedict in the Vatican - before conning her out of more than €300,000

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From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

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