Court to hear appeal for dismissal of charges in Lunney case

A Dublin man will apply to the Special Criminal Court later this month to dismiss charges against him of falsely imprisoning and assaulting Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) director Kevin Lunney, the non-jury court heard today.

Alan O’Brien (39), with an address at Shelmalier Road, East Wall, Dublin 3, is charged with false imprisonment and assault causing serious harm to Mr Lunney (50) at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan on September 17, 2019.

Mr Lunney, a father of six, was abducted close to his home in Co Fermanagh on the evening of September 17. The businessman’s leg was broken, he was doused in bleach and the letters QIH were carved into his chest during the two-and-a-half hour ordeal before he was dumped on a roadside in Co Cavan.

Sean Guerin SC, prosecuting, said Mr O’Brien’s case was listed this morning for the purpose of a Section 4E hearing. An application under Section 4E of the Criminal Justice Act 1999 is for the dismissal of a charge against an accused.

However, Mr Guerin said he was making an application to adjourn the hearing.

In reply, defence counsel Bernard Condon SC, for Mr O’Brien, said his client was “very anxious” for the Section 4E application to be heard and resolved as soon as possible.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Dermot Dempsey, fixed the Section 4E hearing for the morning of July 29 and Mr O’Brien was remanded in custody until that date.

The defendant’s co-accused are Luke O’Reilly (66), from Mullahoran Lower, Kilcogy, Co Cavan; Darren Redmond (25), from Caledon Road, East Wall, Dublin 3 and another man who cannot be named for legal reasons. They are also accused of the same offences.

Mr O’Reilly’s case was also mentioned this morning before the three-judge court. Defence counsel Carol Doherty BL, for Mr O’Reilly, asked the non-jury court to extend time for her client to serve his alibi notice in circumstances where his barrister Mark Mulholland QC wished to meet with him. In reply, prosecution counsel Mr Guerin said there was no difficulty. Mr Justice Hunt gave Mr O’Reilly three weeks to serve his alibi notice.

Mr O’Reilly and Mr Redmond were granted High Court bail in April, despite garda objections. Granting both men bail at the time, Mr Justice Paul Burns said the alleged abduction and assault on Kevin Lunney constituted vicious, cruel and abhorrent criminal behaviour. However, the judge said the accused were presumed innocent and there was an entitlement to bail.

Last month, the Special Criminal Court fixed January 11, 2021 as the date for the trial of the four accused men.