A man on trial accused of the attempted murder of three men is a member of the Kinahan organised crime gang, a former head of the National Surveillance Unit (NSU) has told the Special Criminal Court.
Retired Detective Superintendent William Johnson told the three-judge, non-jury court that on October 13th 2017, he authorised members of the NSU to put an audio listening device into a Volkswagen Caddy that he believed was being used by the accused, Alan Wilson, and others in their activities as members of the criminal gang.
He said Gardaí needed to monitor conversations taking place inside the van to prevent crimes which included risk to the lives of others.
The prosecution alleges that audio devices placed in the Caddy and a Nissan Primastar in 2017 recorded Mr Wilson admitting to shooting three men outside the Player's Lounge pub in Dublin in 2010.
At the beginning of the trial Ronan Kennedy SC, for the prosecution, said Mr Wilson could be heard in one recording saying: "Remember the shooting at the Player's Lounge? I done that."
In another, the prosecution alleges Mr Wilson expressed amazement at how one of the men survived, saying: "One of them, right in the forehead and five times in the body, it's amazing how the c***s pull through it, like."
Mr Wilson's legal representatives are challenging the legality of the decision to authorise members of the NSU to place a listening device in the Caddy.
The Player's Lounge
Alan Wilson (42), with a last address at New Street Gardens, Dublin 8, has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murders of Brian Masterson, Wayne Barrett and Austin Purcell at The Player's Lounge Public House, Fairview Strand, Fairview, Dublin 3 on July 26th, 2010.
Mr Wilson has also pleaded not guilty to the possession of firearms and ammunition, namely a .38 Special Calibre Smith & Wesson revolver and .38 special calibre ammunition and a .32 Auto Calibre Zastava semi-automatic pistol and .32 auto calibre ammunition with intent to endanger life at the same location and on the same date.
Mr Johnson told prosecuting counsel John Byrne SC that Superintendent Ciaran Hoey called him after 11pm on September 13th, 2017. He said Gardaí had been watching the Volkswagen Caddy for about two days while it remained parked in Inchicore, but Supt Hoey told him he had received information that the van was about to be moved.
Mr Johnson said he was aware that Supt Hoey was investigating members of the Kinahan crime gang, one of whom was the accused. He pointed to Mr Wilson in court as one of the members of that gang and named two others, who were not in attendance, as being members of the same gang.
Mr Johnson said he believed if he refused Supt Hoey's application for a warrant to place an audio surveillance device in the van, the opportunity would be lost.
He added: "The operation needed evidence and information to be gathered to save lives and safeguard property and to allow An Garda Síochána to monitor Alan Wilson and the organised crime group to protect life and property."
He said he could not wait until the following morning to get a warrant from a District Court as the device needed to be deployed urgently, before the van was moved, adding that he authorised the device to be used for 13 hours and 50 minutes, giving time for Gardaí to apply to a court the following morning for a warrant allowing them to continue using the device.
The trial continues in front of Ms Justice Tara Burns, presiding, with Judge James Faughnan and Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin.