State witness in Jim Mansfield Jnr trial denies he likes "a bit of grandiosity"

ireland
State Witness In Jim Mansfield Jnr Trial Denies He Likes "A Bit Of Grandiosity" State Witness In Jim Mansfield Jnr Trial Denies He Likes "A Bit Of Grandiosity"
Jim Mansfield Jnr (above) is accused of conspiring with one or more persons to falsely imprison Martin Byrne
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Alison O'Riordan

A former employee of Jim Mansfield Jnr, who claims the businessman set him up to be falsely imprisoned by a gang, has denied that he is someone who makes himself look important and likes "a bit of grandiosity".

The State's witness Martin Byrne (53), who is now in the Witness Protection Programme and was the in-house security director of Citywest Hotel, was being cross-examined today at the non-jury Special Criminal Court trial of Mr Mansfield Jnr (53).

Mr Byrne told the three-judge court in his direct evidence last Friday that his former employer Mr Mansfield Jnr arranged meetings with the New IRA and the INLA to "assist" in getting back parts of his family's former property portfolio.

Protection money

The former security boss testified that €2,500 in protection money was being paid by Mr Mansfield Jnr and another man per week to the Real IRA in order to protect the accused from two Traveller gangs, who claimed they were owed money from the accused.

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Mr Byrne also said in his examination-in-chief that after a separate meeting with former INLA man Dessie O'Hare and former Republican paramilitary Declan "Whacker" Duffy, he asked Mr Mansfield Jnr if he realised how dangerous these people were. However, the witness testified that the accused replied that he "did not care" and "was going to get back what was his."

Mr Byrne told the court that Mr Mansfield Jnr was "a couple of feet away" when he was taken prisoner by a gang of seven men, which included O'Hare and Duffy. Mr Byrne testified that he believed Mr Mansfield Jnr had set him up.

Mr Mansfield Jnr, of Tasaggart House, Garters Lane, Saggart, Co Dublin, is accused of conspiring with one or more persons to falsely imprison Martin Byrne on a date unknown between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2015, both dates inclusive.

He is also charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice by directing Patrick Byrne to destroy recorded CCTV footage, with the alleged intention of perverting the course of public justice in relation to the false imprisonment of Martin Byrne at Finnstown House Hotel, Newcastle Road, Lucan, Co Dublin between June 9th, 2015 and June 12th, 2015.

Cross-examination

Under cross-examination today from defence counsel Bernard Condon SC, for Mr Mansfield Jnr, Mr Byrne said he had a career in security and worked for a company called Securiforce for one year in the early 1990s. Following this, Mr Byrne said he worked in security for the Irish Film Centre in the mid-1990s and then for Citywest from 2005 until 2012.

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Counsel for Mr Mansfield Jnr put it to Mr Byrne that he had described himself as a hair specialist at one stage, which the witness accepted. Mr Byrne agreed that his introduction into the Mansfields affairs was when he ran a business offering hair thinning solutions at The European Hair Centre in the Citywest complex.

The key prosecution witness acknowledged that he had taken many security courses with the Security Institute of Ireland and had worked with a number of celebrities including Michael Flatley. "I wasn't employed by him but I met him at Citywest. I was responsible for security for the event 'Lord of the Dance'," explained Mr Byrne.

Mr Condon asked the witness if he had worked for the CEO of Hewlett Packard. "I was looking after his protection and liaised with him," said Mr Byrne. The barrister said that the impression one might get was that Mr Byrne had been employed by the CEO of Hewlett Packard. "That wasn't what I said," he replied.

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Mansfield Jnr met with New IRA and INLA to "assist...
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The witness said he had trained in the use of firearms in Krakow in Poland in 2006 as there was no firearms training available in Ireland at the time.

LinkedIn account

During one stage of his cross-examination, Mr Condon asked the witness why it appeared on his LinkedIn page that he held the executive position of director of international operations with Control Risk Management Solutions, when he had previously told the court that he was a non-executive training consultant with the company. "They wanted me to leave Citywest and become involved in the company full time and this was the position I was requested to work in," he replied.

The lawyer put it to the witness that he was someone who liked to make himself important. "I don't need to make myself important," replied Mr Byrne. Mr Condon suggested that the witness liked a "bit of grandiosity", to which Mr Byrne said: "That's your opinion."

The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Alexander Owens presiding, sitting with Judge Sinead Ni Chulachain and Judge James Faughnan.

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