Trial of Jim Mansfield Jnr adjourned due to newly disclosed CCTV footage

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Trial Of Jim Mansfield Jnr Adjourned Due To Newly Disclosed Cctv Footage Trial Of Jim Mansfield Jnr Adjourned Due To Newly Disclosed Cctv Footage
The trial of Jim Mansfield Jnr, who is accused of setting up a longtime employee to be taken prisoner by a gang, has been adjourned until next month. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Images
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Alison O'Riordan

The trial of Jim Mansfield Jnr, who is accused of setting up a longtime employee to be taken prisoner by a gang, has been adjourned at the Special Criminal Court until next month due to newly disclosed CCTV footage.

Shane Costelloe SC, on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), told the non-jury court this morning that gardaí have only become aware that a significant proportion of CCTV footage retained on a hard-drive has never been disclosed to the State.

Defence counsel Bernard Condon SC, for Mr Mansfield Jnr, said it amounted to 12 days of CCTV footage and the case should not proceed until he has an opportunity to view the material, which had only just been disclosed.

Charges

Mr Mansfield Jnr (53), 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 1st, 2015 and June 30th, 2015, both dates inclusive.

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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 9, 2015 and June 12, 2015.

The accused has pleaded not guilty to both counts.

New footage

Mr Costelloe told the three-judge panel today that gardaí were requested on Wednesday to find CCTV footage of a white Audi A4 car belonging to witness Brandon Byrne leaving the Towers in Saggart, which is a converted stables at the back of Tasaggart House owned by the accused.

Whilst this was being done, Mr Costelloe said that it only became apparent to gardaí that a significant proportion of the CCTV footage, which was retained on a hard-drive seized from the Towers on June 7th 2015, had never been disclosed.

Brandon Byrne (24) and his father Martin Byrne (53) are both in the Witness Protection Programme (WPP), and have given evidence to the Special Criminal Court this week.

Martin Byrne has testified that Mr Mansfield Jnr was "a couple of feet away" when he was taken prisoner by a gang of seven men, which included former INLA man Dessie O'Hare and former Republican paramilitary Declan "Whacker" Duffy, after a meeting at a warehouse at Keatings Park in west Dublin. In his evidence, Mr Byrne said that he believed Mr Mansfield Jnr had set him up.

20 cameras

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Mr Costelloe said a copy was made of the hard-drive footage prior to it being physically removed and this was what the State thought it had "and nothing else". However, the barrister said it only became apparent this morning that the hard-drive also contained footage from May 28th to June 9th, 2015.

In reply, Mr Condon said about 20 cameras existed in the area of the Towers and it would take him "some weeks" to examine the footage. "It may be hundreds of hours. I did ask for this in advance and wasn't given it," he added.

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The lawyer said it amounted to 12 days of CCTV footage and stressed that the case should not proceed until he has an opportunity to view the material, which had only just been disclosed.

Mr Condon asked the non-jury court to resume the trial on December 15th in order to give him some time to view the footage. He said the prosecution and defence were of the opinion that five days were left in the case.

The barrister asked the three judges to certify a second junior counsel for four days to watch the CCTV footage, which was acceded to.

The trial was adjourned until December 15th before Mr Justice Alexander Owens presiding, sitting with Judge Sinead Ni Chulachain and Judge James Faughnan.

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