A judge has rejected a plea by celebrity chef Conrad Gallagher that his trial in Dublin for the alleged theft of three paintings be postponed.
In the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, lawyers representing Gallagher, now working in the USA, asked for a postponement on the grounds that he had married an American woman last month and was applying for US citizenship.
But Judge Elizabeth Dunne, who had set the trial date for October at a hearing last July, refused the application, warning that Gallagher "has already received more than enough leeway in this matter". She added: "Unless Mr Gallagher got married on the strength of a fleeting glance across a room, then he would have known about his wedding last July.
"Nothing was said to me about it at the time. If he wants to treat the courts with that kind of attitude, so be it. Anything further that has to be said on his behalf should be said to the trial judge."
Gallagher had failed to appear at an earlier court sitting, his lawyer explaining that he had been taken ill in New York and had been advised by his doctor that he was unfit to travel. However, he did turn up for the hearing last July.
He faces charges in relation to three paintings, which he allegedly sold at a Dublin auction two years ago. Dublin's Fitzwilliam hotel, which then housed Gallagher's Peacock Alley restaurant, claims it owned the paintings, while he maintains the case stems from a misunderstanding. He will be pleading not guilty.
Troubles piled up for Gallagher following the incident. First, he lost his job with the upmarket restaurant in London's Shaftesbury Avenue that carried his name. Then the Fitzwilliam hotel terminated its agreement with him, claiming he was heavily in arrears with leasing payments, and closed the Peacock Alley restaurant he had been running for four years.
It recently reopened as Thorntons, under award-winning Irish chef Kevin Thornton, while Gallagher moved to New York in a bid to rebuild his career.
by Anthony Garvey