Monday, May 15, 2023

Declan Brennan

A jury has begun deliberations in the trial of a “psychic medium” accused of deceiving two siblings of €10,200 by telling them their deceased father told them to give her the money.

Debbie Paget, of Knowth Court, Ballymun, Dublin has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of dishonestly by deception inducing James Byrne and Maria Byrne to give two sums of cash, totalling €10,200.

On Monday, jurors heard closing speeches from prosecution and defence lawyers before Judge Pauline Codd directed them in the law.

The jury began deliberations around 3.30pm and resume deliberations on Tuesday.

In his evidence last week James Byrne told Oisin Clarke BL, prosecuting, that he and his sister Maria and their mother lived together at Glendhu Road, Cabra, Dublin. He said Ms Paget was a home carer for a neighbour, and they all got to know her that way.

He said on one occasion, Ms Paget invited him to “a reading” and he thought this was a fortune telling and he would find out about his future. He said that during the session Ms Paget started talking about my father and then told him: “Your father said you are to give me €10,000.”

He said that he felt pressurised and gave his word to give her the money.

He said that Ms Paget asked him: “When are you getting the money” and told him: “If you don’t, it will be a sin and the devil will get you.” He said that he later gave her €10,000 cash in an envelope after withdrawing it from his bank account.

Asked why he gave her the money Mr Byrne told the jury “I believed my father told her to tell me to give her the money, that’s what I believed”.

His sister testified that she gave €200 to Ms Paget after the defendant told her during “a reading” that her deceased father had communicated with her and said that Ms Byrne should give her €200. The siblings made a complaint first to the woman’s employer and then later to gardaí.

When questioned, Ms Paget told gardaí that she was publicly known as a “psychic medium” which meant that she could “see beyond the veil” and communicate with the dead. She said she had offered this service to people for 40 years and had “never charged a penny” to anyone for it.

She denied that she ever did “a reading” for the complainants and denied that she got any money from either of them. She said she never asked either complainant for money.

Ms Paget told gardaí that at one point she felt that Ms Byrne no longer needed a carer and she had suggested to Ms Byrne that she cancel the care package.

She said that after her dismissal, Mr Byrne told her that Ms Byrne later said to him: “Who does she think she fucking is, watch what I’m going to do to her.”

Under cross-examination from Karl Monaghan BL, defending, Mr Byrne accepted that he had a previous conviction for sexual offending but said that had nothing to do with this case.

The trial continues before Judge Pauline Codd and a jury.

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