Wayne Dundon has failed in an application to adjourn his forthcoming Special Criminal Court trial on a charge of murdering Limerick businessman Roy Collins five years ago.
Wayne Dundon (35), of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect and Nathan Killeen (23), of Hyde Road, Prospect, are charged with the murder of Mr Collins (35) at Coin Castle Amusements, Roxboro Road Shopping Centre, Limerick on April 9th, 2009.
They are due to stand trial on April 29 next and is expected to last four to five weeks.
Returning judgement on the application, presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler said the fact that the trial might go beyond the allotted time should not stand in the way of it going ahead. He said there was no jury in the Special Criminal Court and there was no reason why the trial could not be interrupted for two weeks should the need arise.
He said the court had the evidence of Chief Superintendent David Sheehan, who told the court of the threat to proposed prosecution witnesses in the case and the fear that each day that went by made the protection and safety of those witnesses more difficult.
Chief Supt Sheehan told counsel for the prosecution, Sean Guerin SC, that he was aware certain threats had been made against the proposed prosecution witnesses in the case which required a specific garda response.
He said it was his belief that an attack on the witnesses and their families was very likely.
Chief Supt Sheehan said that if the case were to be put back it would be a significant strain not only to maintain the level of support given by gardai but also to make sure the proposed witnesses give evidence at the forthcoming trial.
“Each day that goes by makes it more difficult,” Chief Supt Sheehan said.
Mr Justice Butler said that Chief Supt Sheehan had given evidence in a credible manner and had backed it up as far as he could, and the court believed there was a real concern.
He said the court was dealing with the potential danger to life on one side and the fear of an unfair trial on the other, and although the absolute duty of the trial court was to ensure a far trial, if the prosecution was deficient in any way the trial court would deal with it in the appropriate manner.
Mr Justice Butler said there were some two-and-a-half months left before the trial is due to commence and the disclosure issues raised should be pursued, adding that the trial court would take in to consideration any laxness on behalf of the prosecution in giving disclosure.
He said that, in these circumstances, the court would refuse the application for an adjournment.
Counsel for Dundon, Remy Farrell SC, had applied to adjourn the trial as he said there was “little reality” of the trial concluding in the four to five weeks set aside.
He told the court there were also issues surrounding the disclosure of the evidence in the case. Mr Micheal O’Higgins SC, for Killen, had made a similar application.