independent

Friday 18 April 2014

John Dundon seeks adjournment of Shane Geoghegan murder trial

Shane Geoghegan

A LIMERICK man accused of the murder of Garryowen rugby player Shane Geoghegan has brought a High Court action aimed at delaying the start of his trial.

John Dundon claims that he cannot get a fair trial because his lawyers have not been given sufficient time to go through the large volume of material, including CCTV footage and documentation, about the case furnished to them by the state.

That material was only furnished by the prosecution a month ago, and his lawyers claim they need up to 500 working days to go through al the material. As a result they want the trial put on hold till 2014.

Dundon (29), with an address at Hyde Road, Limerick, is due to stand for the murder of Mr Geoghegan at Clonmore, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, Limerick, on November 9th, 2008 Dbefore the non-jury Special Criminal Court  on June 4th. The trial is expected to last for three to four weeks.

Today at the High Court Mr Justice Michael White heard that that Dundon’s lawyers sought an adjournment of the matter until next year in the interests of a fair trial.

The State objected to any adjournment because of concerns over the security of the proposed chief prosecution witness in the case. The Special Criminal Court however ruled last week that the trial should commence on June 4th.

In his High Court action against the Special Criminal Court Dundon is seeking a number of orders and declarations including that the decision not to grant an adjournment be quashed and that his trial be stayed.

He is also seeking a temporary injunction preventing his trial from going ahead until his High Court action has been determined. 

Today Martin O'Rourke SC for Dundon said it would be impossible for Dundon's lawyers to go through all the material furnished by the state before June 4th. Should the trial proceed the defence team would be compromised, counsel added. 

26,082 pages of evidence, 1,226 discs of CCTV footage, two hard drives and a memory stick were disclosed to Madden & Finucane solicitors at the beginning of the month.

The solicitors  estimate it would take a total of 500 working days to read through the disclosed material and view the CCTV footage.

Dundon's lawyers were not saying that all the material disclosed by the State was relevant to the trial. However it was impossible to know at this point of time what was relevant and what was irrelevant.

Counsel added that the Special Criminal Court had erred in its decision not to grant an adjournment. The decision amounted to breach of his client's rights to fair procedures as well as his Constitutional rights and his rights under the European Convention of Human Rights.

Counsel added that the guidelines in respect of the discovery of material in advance of a trial had not be complied with, given that the material was only furnished to them weeks before the trial was due to begin.

Dundon's application for permission to bring the challenge was made on an ex-parte (one side only present) basis. Mr Justice White directed that the application for leave be heard in the presence of lawyers for the state respondents. The matter was adjourned to Wednesday morning. 

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