Northern Ireland

Psychic's sister wins appeal against fraud convictions

The Court of Appeal
Image caption The Court of Appeal heard new evidence

The sister of a high-profile Northern Ireland psychic has won her appeal against being found guilty of fraud offences at a care home.

On Monday, senior judges quashed Bridgene Kelly's convictions for false accounting and forgery within the former Owenvale Court home in Belfast.

Her brother, 52-year-old spiritualist Patrick Doak's guilty verdict has already been declared unsafe.

The false accounting charges involved less than £100.

They dated back to September 2006 when both worked in the Springfield Road facilities, run at the time by St John of God.

Mr Doak, formerly of Lagmore Meadows in Dunmurry, was manager, while his 56-year-old sister, with an address at Linden Gardens in north Belfast, had been a carer.

At the time money was regularly entrusted to senior staff on behalf of residents in the home.

Earlier this month, Mr Doak's lawyers successfully argued that he was wrongly found to have acted dishonestly in dealing with new balance sheets created to correct staff errors.

The Court of Appeal heard new evidence from a residential worker who counter-signed the sheets but never testified at the trial.

At that stage the prosecution accepted her account raised issues which could potentially have gone before the jury.

Mr Doak, who helped set up the International Spiritualist Union and ran the Centre of Angels complex on the Falls Road in Belfast, had received a one-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.

His convictions were overturned due to the former colleague's testimony.

Following that outcome, lawyers for Ms Kelly returned to court to challenge guilty verdicts against her which resulted in fines of £400 being imposed last year.

With the prosecution not contesting her appeal, the panel of judges based their decision largely on written submissions.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan confirmed Ms Kelly's convictions were also to be quashed.