Thursday 21 September 2017

Businessman wants Garda boss O'Sullivan jailed in row over truck

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan Picture: PA
Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan Picture: PA
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The High Court has been asked to consider committing Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan and a number of other gardaí to prison for contempt of court.

The case involves allegations gardaí failed to abide by court orders directing the return of an excavator and a truck seized from a Dublin businessman who has been investigated by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).

Lawyers representing articulated truck and car trader Fran McGuinness (56) have alleged two gardaí deliberately ignored district court orders made in 2013 for the return of a Kobelco excavator and a Volvo truck.

It is alleged both the excavator and the truck were sold in contravention of court orders last September as part of the enforcement of a tax demand by the CAB against Mr McGuinness's Vehicle Tech Ltd company.

Mr McGuinness's legal team has claimed Ms O'Sullivan was responsible for the actions of her subordinates and has either by act or omission permitted various court orders to be ignored.

Following an application from barrister Alan Toal, for Mr McGuinness, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan ordered that the ex-parte docket and an affidavit containing the allegations be served on the Chief State Solicitor, as the commissioner's legal representative.

The matter returns to the High Court next week.

Mr McGuinness, of Seatown Park, Swords, Co Dublin, has been engaged in a long-running row with the force over the manner in which a company bank account was frozen, a tax demand was raised against his business, and expensive cars, trucks and plant hire equipment were seized.

The businessman has alleged at least eight seizures have been made by gardaí since 2008.

He has alleged his premises near Swords has been targeted on several occasions because his brother, who he says he is estranged from and has no dealings with, is a notorious criminal.

The brother, Cyril McGuinness, also known as 'Dublin Jimmy', lives in Co Fermanagh and has more than 50 convictions.

These include one in Belgium for leading a gang smuggling plant machinery into Ireland.

Mr McGuinness denies any involvement in criminal activity.

Although he was arrested in May 2009 and held for 17 hours, he was released and did not subsequently face any charges.

Earlier this year, a BMW seized in June 2008 was returned to Mr McGuinness by order of High Court judge Richard Humphreys.

Payment

The judge also ordered the payment of €33,600 in special damages to Mr McGuinness.

The order is being appealed by Mr McGuinness, who believes he should receive more damages.

Among the vehicles seized from the businessman was a top of the range Mercedes CL63 AMG, taken from his business premises three years ago.

Despite repeated requests, the whereabouts of the vehicle has not been disclosed to Mr McGuinness.

In an affidavit, Mr McGuinness's solicitor John Geary said his client had been beset, harassed and intimidated by gardaí. He said road traffic and money laundering legislation had been abused to wreak havoc on Mr McGuinness's life.

The solicitor said multiple courts had been told of pending prosecutions against his client in relation to money laundering, but not a single indictable prosecution had been initiated.

Irish Independent

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