Psychic Medium's Conviction Upheld After Failed Appeal
 General News
Sunday 28th, January 2024
Ireland Report / Story
Debbie Paget, a self proclaimed psychic medium, has failed in her attempt to overturn a conviction for conning a man out of €10,000 by allegedly communicating with his deceased father. The case unfolded in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, where Paget, aged 56 and residing in Knowth Court, Ballymun, Dublin, was found guilty by a jury last May.

James Byrne, the victim, testified during the trial that Paget pressured him into handing over €10,000 by claiming his late father had instructed her to convey the message, warning that failing to comply would result in the devil taking his soul. Despite Paget's plea of not guilty, the jury returned a guilty verdict on the first count and acquitted her on a second charge related to dishonestly inducing Maria Byrne, James Byrne's sister, to provide €200.

Paget was subsequently sentenced to a one year jail term on July 10, 2023, by Judge Pauline Codd, who characterized the offense as "cunning and manipulative" involving the exploitation of a vulnerable individual.

In her defense, Paget argued in the Court of Appeal that the trial judge had erred in not directing a verdict of not guilty, asserting that the evidence presented was insufficient to warrant a conviction. The appeal also highlighted alleged inconsistencies in the testimony, pointing to conversations involving Maria Byrne that suggested animosity towards Paget.

Karl Monahan BL, representing Paget, contended that the conversations indicated possible motivations for fabricating charges against his client, emphasizing that there were discrepancies in witness statements. However, the Court of Appeal, comprised of Mr. Justice McCarthy, Mr. Justice Edwards, and Mr. Justice Patrick McCarthy, ultimately dismissed the appeal.

Mr. Justice McCarthy stated that there was ample evidence for the jury to convict Paget, and any inconsistencies were considered during their deliberations. The court found that the trial judge did not err in refusing to direct a verdict of not guilty at the close of the prosecution's case.

The judges underscored that the acquittal on the charge related to Maria Byrne did not undermine the overall strength of the case against Paget, and the jury's decision demonstrated their attention and discernment in separating the two charges.

Paget's legal troubles have shed light on her personal history, marked by a difficult family life, exposure to domestic violence, and struggles with addiction. The court, however, focused on the specifics of the case, characterizing Paget as an "old-fashioned confidence trickster" who took advantage of a vulnerable individual.

Debbie Paget will now serve her one year sentence, as the legal process concludes with the dismissal of her appeal.
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