Trial of Jim Mansfield Jnr adjourned for almost six months

ireland
Trial Of Jim Mansfield Jnr Adjourned For Almost Six Months Trial Of Jim Mansfield Jnr Adjourned For Almost Six Months
Jim Mansfield Jnr (53) is accused of conspiring to falsely imprison Martin Byrne. He has pleaded not guilty. Photo: PA Images
Share this article

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 for almost six months.

This is the second adjournment in the trial, with the property magnate's case previously adjourned for several weeks on November 19th after the defence requested time to view newly disclosed CCTV footage.

Last month, Shane Costelloe SC on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), submitted that gardai had only become aware that a significant proportion of CCTV footage retained on a hard-drive had never been disclosed to the State. The defence said it amounted to 12 days of CCTV footage and the case should not proceed until they had an opportunity to view the material. The three-judge court ruled that the trial would be adjourned until December 15th.

Advertisement

When the trial re-commenced yesterday before the non-jury court, defence counsel Bernard Condon SC said there had been delays in serving the defence with the newly disclosed CCTV footage, and he asked for a further adjournment to view the material, which was acceded to.

CCTV footage

Furthermore, Mr Condon said "a very significant piece" of CCTV footage was only served on the defence last week despite the cross-examination of Martin Byrne having concluded. The court ruled yesterday that Mr Condon would be given another opportunity to put further questions to Martin Byrne when he is brought back to the jurisdiction in June.

Following evidence from two garda witnesses today, Mr Costelloe informed the three-judge court that this was as far as the State could take the case and two more weeks were required to complete the trial.

Judge Sinead Ni Chulachain reminded counsel for both sides that the case had originally been listed for three weeks, when it began on October 23rd.

Counsel and the three-judge panel went through the Special Criminal Court's diary as well as the barristers' schedules over the coming months and the next available date suitable to all parties was June 2nd.

Mr Justice Alexander Owens presiding, sitting with Judge Ni Chulachain and Judge James Faughnan adjourned the trial until June 2nd next year. It is listed for mention at the beginning of January.

Witness Protection

Advertisement

Martin Byrne (53) has testified that Mr Mansfield Jnr was "a couple of feet away" when he was taken prisoner by the gang of 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.

Martin Byrne is now in the Witness Protection Programme (WPP) along with his wife Lisa Byrne and their son Brandon Byrne (24).

Giving evidence today, Detective Garda Shane Barry of Rathcoole Garda Station told Mr Costelloe that he was on duty at midday on June 9th when it was relayed to him that armed men were at The Towers, which is a converted stables at the back of Tasaggart House, in Saggart Co Dublin. Garda Frank Cross offered to assist him and they drove to The Towers in a red Ford Focus patrol car, said the witness.

Det Gda Barry said they parked directly outside one of the apartments at The Towers, and he immediately observed the wife of Martin Byrne, Lisa Byrne, in a very distressed state.

Distressed

Det Gda Barry testified that Lisa Byrne, who was waving her arms and crying, approached the patrol car and repeatedly said "can you get us out of here". Her son, Brandon Byrne, was standing beside her and was very quiet, he said.

Advertisement

Det Gda Barry explained that he saw Declan Duffy standing in one of the doorways of the houses before he [Duffy] closed the door. The witness said he then saw a "very distressed" Martin Byrne, who had bruising to his face, coming out of the same house.

The detective said that Martin Byrne was standing over a large pool of blood when he [Martin Byrne] said to him [Det Gda Barry] "can we just get out of here". Another man, Christopher Maguire, was pacing up and down, "lurking" and acting suspiciously, said Det Gda Barry.

Christopher Maguire (41), with a last address at Dun Emer Place in Lusk was given a three-year suspended sentence for falsely imprisoning Martin Byrne in Rathcoole/Saggart, County Dublin on June 9th, 2015. He had also pleaded guilty to falsely imprisoning Lisa Byrne in the same place on the same date.

Garda helicopter

The witness said it was relayed to him from a garda helicopter hovering overhead that a number of men were escaping from the rear of the apartment block.

Det Gda Barry said he was trying to understand what was occurring but Martin Byrne told him that he only wanted to speak to Detective Sergeant Tony Hearty from the Special Detective Unit.

Advertisement

"I was trying to ascertain if there was a threat as I was the only armed member there," said the witness.

John Roche, who was badly beaten, left one of the units and had to be supported by another man, he said.

Under cross-examination, Det Gda Barry told defence counsel Bernard Condon SC that he thought Martin Byrne was very distressed and under some form of duress, when he asked to speak to Det Sgt Hearty. The witness told Mr Condon that he recalled asking Martin Byrne on numerous occasions what was going on, but he didn't receive a response.

This afternoon, Garda Frank Cross told Mr Costelloe that he assisted the previous witness when he was made aware of the armed incident at The Towers.

Gda Cross said he was met by Lisa Byrne and her son Brandon, and they were both in an "agitated state" and "shaking like something serious had happened". Lisa Byrne just wanted to "get away from the scene" and got into the rear of the unmarked patrol car "which would be unusual", he continued.

The witness said that when James O'Gorman exited one of the units at The Towers, Lisa Byrne shouted over at him: "You set us up". James O'Gorman of Maplewood Park, Tallaght was convicted of defrauding a company director out of €54,000 at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in 2007.

Dessie O'Hare

Advertisement

Under cross-examination last month from Mr Condon, Martin Byrne denied that he was solely working for O'Gorman and insisted he mostly worked for Mr Mansfield Jnr but also worked for O'Gorman. Mr Byrne also denied to Mr Condon that he was "importing" the accused man Jim Mansfield Jnr into activities carried out by O'Gorman.

Ireland
Mansfield Jnr met with New IRA and INLA to "assist...
Read More

In his evidence, Gda Cross said Martin Byrne came out of No.7 with a laceration to one of his eyes and he was shaking. The witness said Martin Byrne told him: "Don't go near the door of No.7 as Dessie O'Hare is in there and you will be shot." Gda Cross said the security boss then explained that he had been abducted and pointed over to a vehicle.

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.

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.

The accused has pleaded not guilty to both counts.

Read More

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© BreakingNews.ie 2021, developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com