Adjournment in appeal brought by Laois brothers convicted of rape
An appeal brought by two Laois brothers against their conviction and three year sentence for raping a woman in a hotel room has been adjourned until the next court term.
Eamonn Flanagan (42) of Dunamaise, Stradbally and Seamus Flanagan (35) of Ashley Gardens, Portlaoise were jailed for three years by Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan in October 2011 after a Central Criminal Court jury convicted them of raping a woman in a room at the Red Cow Hotel in Dublin on March 3rd, 2008.
Seamus Flanagan had pleaded not guilty to the anal and vaginal rape of the woman at the hotel, while Eamonn Flanagan pleaded not guilty to vaginal rape of the woman.
The appeal was due to be heard today, however counsel for Seamus Flanagan, Ms Pauline Walley SC, asked the court to adjourn the matter to allow the applicants put an affidavit before the court in relation to prosecution witness Daniel Lynch.
The appeal court previously heard that after the brothers were convicted, a key prosecution witness claimed he was pressurised by gardai to say he saw the men at the door of the room where the rape occurred.
The witness, Mr Daniel Lynch, was a friend of the accused men and had consensual sex with the woman shortly before the brothers were accused of raping her. No DNA from the brothers was found on the woman and CCTV footage showed the rapes occurred during a two minute window.
Mr Lynch claimed that during the investigation he was put under pressure by gardai to make a statement saying the brothers were at the hotel room door when he was leaving. He said this happened in a garda car, parked at a petrol station in Laois.
The appeal court had granted bail to the brothers on the basis that there was a “strong chance” that Mr Lynch’s evidence would be significant in determining whether the evidence that went before the jury was safe or satisfactory.
Presiding judge Mr Justice John MacMenamin said it appeared the appeal court cannot and should not proceed with the case today. He said it was in the interests of justice, not only for the appellants but for the Director of Public Prosecutions and the complainant, that the full facts come before the court in an appropriate manner.
He said the court would list the matter for mention on the first day of the next court term, which begins on April 28.