Man who lodged cash for prisoner told he can’t get it back

September 25, 2023

A man who lodged money on behalf of a prisoner believing that he was acting as an independent surety has been told that the Court Service has no power to order the return of the sum.

The man appeared before Judge Éiteáin Cunningham at Letterkenny District Court.

He explained that he was looking for the return of the €2,500 he lodged in a prison on behalf of a person.

Solicitor Mr Rory O’Brien explained to the man that there was a difference between an independent survey and someone who lodged money on behalf of another person.

The prisoner in question is currently incarcerated at Castlerea Prison in County Roscommon.

The man took to the stand and explained that he drove to Castlerea and lodged the money with the prison guards.

He said he was approached by the prisoner’s mother and was told that if he put the money up there was a ‘promise that the trouble would be over in a couple of months and I would get my money back’.

“I didn’t know the seriousness of the offences,” the man told Judge Cunningham. “I was told something different. I was told that all the trouble would be over in a couple of months.”

The man said his family could not afford to lose the money as it was intended to go towards the purchase of a car for his son who has additional needs.

Judge Cunningham said it was ‘most unfortunate’ that the man was ‘misunderstood’ in his role.

She told the man that the court had no power to direct the return of the money.

“I have enormous sympathy for you,” Judge Cunningham said. “It is a private arrangement and I am sorry that the court cannot do anything to help. You had understood that you were an independent surety, but unfortunately this is a matter between you and the other parties.”