Businessman Kennedy loses Supreme Court appeal07/06/2012 - 12:05:11
The Supreme Court has dismissed businessman Jim Kennedy appeal's against a High Court decision rejecting his bid to stop his trial over alleged corrupt payments for land rezoning.
The charges are in connection with the attempted rezoning of land owned by Jackson Way Properties at Carrickmines, Dublin, in 1992 and the successful rezoning of part of these lands in 1997.
Last July, Mr Justice John Hedigan dismissed the challenge brought by Mr Kennedy, who denies all the charges against him.
This morning the five-Judge Supreme Court upheld the High Court's decision and dismissed the appeal on a 4-1 majority, clearing the way for the criminal prosecution to proceed against the businessman.
In her judgment the Chief Justice Ms Susan Denham said the Mr Kennedy had not established a basis on which his appeal could succeed.
While there was a delay in bringing the charges against Mr Kennedy, the reasons given including the unavailability of key witnesses such as Frank Dunlop to give evidence are reasonable, the Chief Justice held.
Mr Justice Nial Fennelly, Mr Justice Donal O'Donnell and Mr Justice Frank Clarke all agreed with the Chief Justice's ruling.
Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman disagreed. In his dissenting judgment the Judge said he would have allowed the appeal on the grounds that there had been a very considerable delay by the State in prosecuting the charges against Mr Kennedy.
Mr Kennedy sought orders against the DPP aimed at preventing his trial on grounds including his constitutional and European Convention rights to a fair trial have been breached.
Mr Kennedy, a father of 10, Comorant Wharf, Queensway Quay, Gibraltar who was present in court today is facing 16 charges of making corrupt payments to politicians relating to rezoning motions voted on by Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council concerning the land in Carrickmines.
His lawyers claimed his trial should be prohibited because there was, among other reasons, an inexcusable delay before charges were brought against him.
The state opposed the application and argued no grounds were put forward that would merit prohibiting the trial.
The Supreme Court appeal was brought on a number of grounds including that the State was not entitled to wait to charge Mr Kennedy until key witness Frank Dunlop had been "effectively gentifried" for the purposes of the Kennedy trial.
In May 2009, Mr Dunlop, a former government press secretary, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to corruption, with the final six months suspended.
In October 2010, Jim Kennedy was arrested and charged with corruption after he attended the High Court to oppose a bid by the Criminal Assets Bureau to seize some of the Carrickmines lands.
He then brought High Court proceedings to try to stop his trial on those charges and that was rejected in the High Court last July.
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