Northern Ireland news

Former events company boss to stand trial on charges of fraud and misconduct in a public office

Janice McAleese, former Northern Ireland Events Company boss from Lanarkshire, at Belfast Crown Court. Picture by Hugh Russell.

THE former Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Ireland Events Company (NIEC) is to stand trial in the new year on charges of fraud and misconduct in a public office.

Janice McAleese - the former head of the now defunct public body - appeared at Belfast Crown Court today where she denied the charges.

The 55-year old, from Elvanfoot Bigger in Lanarkshire, was charged with conspiring to defraud the NIEC by dishonestly causing or permitting excessive fees to be paid to Damien Fleming or Schism Ltd, on dates between October 2004 and January 2006.

When the charge was put to McAleese, she relied "not guilty."

Also in the dock was Damien Fleming, who was also charges with the same offence of conspiring to defraud the organisation. From Station Road in Maghera, 55-year old Fleming also replied "not guilty" when charged.

McAleese was also charged with, and denied, an offence of misconduct in a public office. She was charged that in her position as Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Ireland Events Company, she wilfully neglected to perform her duty and misconducted herself to such a degree to amount to an abuse of trust of the public by deceiving the board of the Northern Ireland Events Company in relation to a funding agreement for payment of £160,000 and payments to others.

This charge covers the same period from October 2004 to January 2006, and was denied by McAleese.

Co-accused Fleming was charged with aiding and abetting Ms McAleese's misconduct in a public, which he also denied.

After both defendants entered their 'not guilty' pleas, Judge David McFarland fixed a trial date for January 7, 2020.

The judge said he was would review the case in September, and after hearing there were no issues that the two could be released on continuing bail, the Judge told the two accused "you are free to go."

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