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Ask Ronan Your Own Question
Ronan, Solicitor
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 2253
Experience:  B. Corp Law, Ll.B. Dip Comm Prop. In general practice for more then 6 years
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On Saturday evening, I found a purse just at the exit of a

Customer Question

On Saturday evening, I found a purse just at the exit of a car park. I looked inside and found a debit card. I called the number on the back to report it as lost and explained the situation. I was told that she would pass on my number to the woman who owned the card so she could contact me and arrange to get it back. I checked the purse, and apart from the card there was only a hairpin and a 20c coin.
I got a call from the owner a short time later. I asked her if the card was all she had in the purse when she lost it and she said that there was also around €80 cash which had been returned to her by a friend. I said that it was not in there and she said that it was fine; she was just grateful to get the purse and card back. I returned it and she said that she would get security to check the CCTV. I thought no more of it.
Today I got a call from a Garda. He said that it was entirely off the record but that he had seen CCTV footage which showed the purse being dropped and that the next person to pick it up was me. He said that there was €120 in there, and that the woman had shown him the ATM slip (I did not realise at the time that this contradicted what she said about the money being returned by a friend). He said that it seemed fairly obvious that I had taken it and that if the €120 was returned to her all would be forgotten, but if not charges would be pressed and I'd get a criminal record. Naturally, I was fairly intimidated so I said that I'd check the CCTV footage and get back to him tomorrow. I went to the security guard at the desk and explained everything to him. He was not able to access he footage (a colleague who could work the machine was not working today) but he said that he was not aware of the Gardaí accessing CCTV footage over the last week or so and that he doubted that the cameras would have any visual on where the purse was dropped.
I'm so sorry for the length of my question, but I wanted you to have all of the salient facts. I'm wondering if it's possible that the Garda was lying on the phone when he said that he had seen footage. More importantly, I was wondering if there could actually be charges filed against me, particularly if the CCTV footage was as the Garda had said. I was talking to a friend about it, and he said that there was absolutely no proof that there was any money in the purse at any point, and that she was just lying. I told the Garda that I would contact him tomorrow to let him know where I stand. Can you please tell me how to proceed here? I'm really worried as I've never been in any sort of trouble with the law before, and any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Expert:  Ronan replied 2 years ago.
Yes, you could potentially be charged relation to this. As to the whether there is sufficient evidence to sustain a conviction, I would say, it is unlikely. And yes it's very possible that the garda is not telling you the truth regarding to the CCTV footage. I would also suggest that you obtain the advice of the solicitor and let the contact the garda on your behalf
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm fairly shocked to think that I could actually be charged; I could understand it if CCTV footage had shown me removing money from the purse but even if the footage exists, there was definitely no money to take. It is not a massive amount of money to pay and I would assume that getting a solicitor to act on my behalf would probably cost me more anyway, but on pure principle I do not feel that I should have to give €120 to "make this go away". Is there any way to approach this without seeking legal counsel?
Expert:  Ronan replied 2 years ago.
You could report the Garda involved to his Superintendent at the station as from what you outline it appears somewhat unprofessional notwithstanding that he investigating a complaint