Monday 25 September 2017

'You should be shot', Ryan case accused told in dock

Tom Tuite and Gareth Naughton

A CHILLING threat was issued to a man who appeared in court charged with withholding information about the murder of Real IRA faction leader Alan Ryan.

Thomas Hunt was told "you should be f***ing shot" by a man in the public gallery at Dublin District Court.

The threat led to the man and a companion being ejected.

Father-of-two Mr Hunt was brought before the court charged with withholding information which might have been of material assistance in securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of a person, on September 3.

Mr Hunt, from Canon Lillis Avenue, on Dublin city's north-side, had been detained at Coolock garda station for questioning for a week.

The courtroom was cleared but journalists and members of Mr Hunt's family were allowed to remain for the proceedings.

Two men in the public gallery initially refused to budge, with one of them telling a garda: "We are here for Alan Ryan."

When the pair got up, the second man shouted "Tiocfaidh ar La" and looked in the direction of Mr Hunt, before adding: "You should be f***ing shot."

After the men were escorted out of the courtroom, the hearing commenced.

Garda Alan Roche told Judge Patricia McNamara that Mr Hunt made "no reply" when the charge was put to him on Tuesday night. Mr Hunt, who is on disability benefit, did not address the court.

The garda then objected to bail, saying there were concerns that Mr Hunt would flee the jurisdiction. He also cited the seriousness of the charge, saying it involved "withholding information in relation to the murder of Alan Ryan".

It was, he said, a complex investigation with a large volume of CCTV footage, witness statements and computer analysis.

He agreed with defence solicitor Jenny McGeever that Mr Hunt was in a long-term relationship, had children and was "rooted in his community".

Ms McGeever said that Mr Hunt had serious health problems but did not have any addiction issues and she submitted that the garda had agreed that there was "not a smidgen of evidence" that he would leave the country.

She also pointed out that the charge, which on conviction can carry a five-year sentence, would be "fully contested" by her client.

The defence lawyer also said that Hunt's family were not well off and that he had already surrendered his passport.

She told the court that Mr Hunt would abide by bail terms and not apply for any new travel documents.

Inquest

Judge McNamara granted bail terms in Mr Hunt's own bond of €6,000, of which she stipulated that €2,000 must be lodged. She also said that, given the seriousness of the charge, an independent surety in the sum of €10,000 would have to approved.

Anyone intending to stand the €10,000 independent bail would have to give 24 hours' notice to gardai to allow them an opportunity to check their veracity.

Mr Hunt was remanded in custody with consent to bail and will appear again at Cloverhill District Court next Wednesday.

Dissident-republican Alan Ryan was shot dead near his home on September 3, while he was walking along Grange Lodge Avenue, in Clongriffin, north Dublin.

A masked gunman got out of a car and shot 32-year-old Ryan in the body and legs, bringing him to the ground, before he was then hit with another bullet in the head.

A man who had been with Ryan also sustained a wound to his leg.

Meanwhile, Dublin Coroner's Court heard that Ryan died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.

At the opening of the inquest into his death, Detective Inspector Seamus Boland said that the garda investigation was still ongoing.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell adjourned the inquest for further mention on March 8 next year as the garda investigation is under way.

Irish Independent

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