A Polish man blamed his ex-wife for stealing €60,000 belonging to him which he had hidden behind the chimney in the attic and under the child’s car seat.
Adriana Janur, 39, and her ex-husband Piotr Janur were separated as a couple but continued to live together at their home at Rathowen on the Duntahane Road in Fermoy, County Cork, in January 2020 when the alleged theft occurred.
However, after a jury was sworn in to hear the case before Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin at Cork Circuit Criminal Court it emerged that the sum of cash involved totalled €56,000 and not €60,000.
Adriana Janur pleaded not guilty to the charge of stealing it.
After Piotr Janur gave his direct evidence to prosecution barrister Donal McCarthy and was cross-examined by Elizabeth O’Connell senior counsel, Judge Ó Donnabháin agreed with a defence submission that it was a suitable case to direct the five men and seven women of the jury to return a verdict of not guilty by direction of the trial judge.
The circumstances of the cash being concealed by Piotr Janur were that he had been concerned about his health and had written three letters which effectively took the form of a will in which he directed that the concealed money should be recovered and used for the benefit of his and Ms Janur’s infant son.
However, Ms Janur found one of the letters in her ex-husband’s wallet when she was washing clothing. She opened the letter and by her own admission to investigating gardaí she went out to the car and took some of the concealed money. She said there was a second letter under the car seat referring to further money hidden behind the chimney in the attic and she took most of that. The total amount of money she took totalled €56,000.
She said she used €31,000 to pay off a home improvement loan and lodged the remaining €25,000. She also said the money would have been for the benefit of their child.
Judge Ó Donnabháin directed her to give an undertaking to return that €25,000 to her ex-husband. She agreed to do so.
When the case was over, Mr Janur asked what was to happen about him getting back the €31,000. Judge Ó Donnabháin said that was a matter which would have to be resolved in civil proceedings.
During the case the complainant said he hid the money rather than banking it because he did not trust the banks.
He said he wanted it to be used, if he died, for the benefit of his child. In the letter he said he wanted everything belonging to him to be used for his son.
At one stage during the evidence the judge summarised the position being set out by the complainant: “You wrote a letter that alerted her to the money in the car. In your view you were writing your will but she found it before you died.” Ms O’Connell said that as soon as Ms Janur was questioned by gardaí she made no secret about taking the total of €56,000 from the car and the attic, using €31,000 of it to repay a home improvement loan and banking the remaining €25,000.
The defence senior counsel said that even though the home improvement loan had been in the defendant’s name she argued that it was in effect a joint loan that both of them had for the house. The complainant denied this.
Ms O’Connell said Ms Janur had to take out this loan at a time when Mr Janur was “siphoning off” his wages and hiding it. Mr Janur said it was his own money that the defence senior counsel was talking about.