The Special Criminal Court will deliver its verdict on October 22 in the trials of four men accused of abducting and assaulting Quinn Industrial Holdings director Kevin Lunney.
On the final day of the trial, which opened in June and has sat for 40 days, the court heard from Michael Lynn SC for the fourth accused man Luke O'Reilly. Mr Lynn said his client is a 68-year-old family man with his own business, no previous convictions and no propensity to offend in the way in which he is accused. He said the prosecution case taken at its height did not show that Mr O'Reilly had any knowledge of what was to happen to Mr Lunney and there was no suggestion he had any involvement in disputes regarding Quinn Industrial Holdings.
He said the evidence showed his client to have given accurate accounts of his movements on the day of the attack but asked the court to consider that if his client did lie to gardai, it may have been out of fear for himself and his family if he said anything that might incriminate Cyril McGuinness, the man alleged to have coordinated the attack on Mr Lunney. McGuinness, also known as Dublin Jimmy, is now deceased.
A 40-year-old man who cannot be named known as YZ, Alan O’Brien (40), of Shelmalier Road, East Wall, Dublin 3, Darren Redmond (27), from Caledon Road, East Wall, Dublin 3 and Luke O’Reilly (68), with an address at Mullahoran Lower, Kilcogy, Co Cavan have all pleaded not guilty to false imprisonment and intentionally causing serious harm to Mr Lunney at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan on September 17, 2019.
Mr Lynn said the prosecution case rests on the theory that McGuinness was the organiser of the offences against Mr Lunney. Mr Lynn said the theory put forward by the prosecution was that there was no communication between Mr O'Reilly and the other three accused because McGuinness deliberately kept them apart so that Mr O'Reilly did not know what was happening. Counsel said that if it is reasonable to infer that his client was "kept in the dark" then the prosecution case fails.
Under the Act, he said, the prosecution must prove that his client intended to provide assistance in the offences knowing that what was intended was false imprisonment and assault.
He added: "There is no evidence upon which this court could draw any reliable conclusion, let alone one beyond reasonable doubt, that Mr O'Reilly knew that a false imprisonment and serious assault were to be carried out."
There is no evidence, counsel said, for an assertion by prosecution counsel Sean Guerin SC that his client met the accused known as YZ and gave him a bottle of bleach while Mr Lunney was still being held in a horsebox in a yard owned by Mr O'Reilly at Drumbrade in Cavan. CCTV showed Mr O'Reilly buying bleach from a Gala shop in Killydoon at around 8pm while Mr Lunney was suffering his ordeal. In his evidence Mr Lunney described how two of his three attackers left at one point to get bleach. They returned after about 15 minutes to continue the assault and doused him in bleach to destroy forensic evidence.
Mr Lynn said there was no evidence to support the prosecution's assertion that his client's yard, which counsel described as a "dumping yard", was used for "extensive preparations" ahead of the abduction. He said the evidence showed that there was open access to the yard as the gate was not locked and Mr O'Reilly did not regularly visit it.
When gardai visited Mr O'Reilly's home he told them: "I know why you're here, you're here because I bought that bottle of bleach." Mr Lynn said it was widely known that gardai were inquiring about purchases of bleach and asked the court to consider the evidence of gardai who met Mr O'Reilly that day and said he was open, cooperative and even helpful. He volunteered his mobile phone and gave gardai another mobile phone which he said he had replaced about two days earlier because it stopped charging.
Mr O'Reilly's contacts with McGuinness, counsel said, are explained by his business dealings which included importing vehicles and parts from the UK. Mr O'Reilly told gardai that at around the time of the offences against Mr Lunney, he was communicating with McGuinness regarding the importation of a Mitsubishi Canter truck that Mr O'Reilly had bought from an online auction in the UK. Mr Lynn said documents relating to that purchase and the involvement of McGuinness showed that Mr O'Reilly was telling the truth.
Mr Lynn said he does not accept the prosecution's claim that his client did not tell the truth. If the court finds, however, that Mr O'Reilly did not tell the truth, counsel said the court should consider: "If somebody found themselves in Mr O'Reilly's position there would be a very clear reason to protect oneself and one's family," he said, adding: "There would be a clear reason to avoid saying something that would incriminate Mr McGuinness for one's own safety and for his own family's sake."
Barristers for each of the four accused have asked the court to consider directed acquittals of their clients due to a lack of evidence. If the court finds that there is enough evidence for them to consider a verdict, defence lawyers have asked for their clients to be found not guilty.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt presided over the trial with Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge David McHugh.
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