The actions of one of the men accused of abducting and torturing Kevin Lunney are "very suspicious" but do not lead to the inevitable conclusion that he was one of the men who bundled the businessman into the back of an Audi, beat him at a yard and dumped him on the side of a road, a defence barrister has told the Special Criminal Court.
Michael O'Higgins SC addressed the three-judge, non-jury court today on behalf of the accused known as YZ, who can't be named for legal reasons. Mr O'Higgins warned the court to avoid coming to a conclusion that might appear logical based on suspicion but that falls short of the required level of proof.
Mr O'Higgins said his client's actions were suspicious and added: "I do concede that the circumstances are suspicious." But, he said, the circumstantial evidence pointed to by the prosecution should not lead the court to "inexorably conclude that the only reasonable interpretation is" that the men responsible are his client and two other men who were traveling in a Kangoo van in Cavan on the same day.
Counsel also said that the court should consider whether the prosecution has excluded the possibility that Mr Lunney's DNA was planted inside the Renault Kangoo.
He said that the compound where the van was stored for forensic examination was not secure and forensic examiners failed to spot the suspected blood stains during the first examination on October 29, 2019. Forensic scientist Dr Edward Connolly examined the van two days later and said the reddish brown stains were visible to the naked eye and he would have expected a forensic examiner to see them. Mr O'Higgins said: "We are not pointing the finger saying it was planted. We are just not really sure."
YZ (40), Alan O'Brien (40), of Shelmalier Road, East Wall, Dublin 3, Darren Redmond (27), from Caledon Road, East Wall, Dublin 3 and Luke O'Reilly (68), with an address at Mullahoran Lower, Kilcogy, Co Cavan have all pleaded not guilty to false imprisonment and intentionally causing serious harm to Mr Lunney at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan on September 17, 2019.
Defence counsels are continuing their closing speeches in front of Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, and Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge David McHugh.