Northern Ireland news

Woman accused of defrauding west Belfast groups of £130,000

A financial administrator is to stand trial charged with defrauding west Belfast voluntary organisations out of more than £130,000.

Ann Marie Daye appeared before the city's magistrates court yesterday accused of abusing her position within groups in the Lenadoon area by making cheques out to herself.

The 49-year-old, of Summerhill Gardens, Dunmurry, faces two counts each of theft by an employee and fraud.

She is alleged to have stolen £95,632.50 in total from the Lenadoon Community Forum and £38,170 belonging to Lenadoon Women's Group.

According to the charge sheet she worked for both organisations and was expected to safeguard their financial interests.

The alleged offences were committed during a period between December 31 2008 and August 1 2013.

Listed as a voluntary organisation with charitable status, the Community Forum deals with housing, environmental, adult education and cross-community issues.

The Women's Group provides a ranges of services supporting families in the area.

At yesterday's preliminary enquiry hearing Daye confirmed she understood the charges against her.

She declined to give evidence or call witnesses at this stage.

Her solicitor, Ciaran Toner, raised no objection to prosecution submissions that she has a case to answer.

On that basis the District Judge granted an application for Daye to be returned for trial at Belfast Crown Court.

She was released on continuing bail of £750 until those proceedings get underway on a date to be fixed.

Mr Toner also informed the court he was withdrawing his services as part of an ongoing dispute over legal aid fees.

Making his application to come off record, the lawyer claimed that current Crown Court rules would not provide proper remuneration for a case of this type.

Northern Ireland news

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