Bike driver starts life term for murder of innocent man
A MAN whose murder conviction was quashed on appeal has been found guilty of the offence for the second time.
Bryan Ryan (29), of Ard Caher, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, but who is originally from Blanchardstown, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Ian Tobin (25) at Fortlawn Park, Blanchardstown, on May 27, 2007.
Yesterday the Central Criminal Court jury returned a 10-2 majority verdict of guilty after six hours and 27 minutes of deliberation.
Ian Tobin, an innocent man, had been due to get married just three months after his murder. His brother Blake had been the intended target of the gunman.
Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy handed down the mandatory life sentence and backdated it to March 21, 2010, for time spent in custody.
Mr Tobin was shot through a door at a house in Blanchardstown – but the court heard his brother was the intended victim of the attack.
The State claimed that Ryan drove the gunman on a motorbike to the killing in Fortlawn Park on the morning in question and the case was one of joint enterprise.
In December 2008, Ryan received a life sentence from Mr Justice Barry White after a jury found him guilty of the murder but the Court of Criminal Appeal overturned the conviction in 2011.
The appeal court ruled that his conviction was unsafe because Mr Justice White failed to properly warn the jury about evidence given by a key prosecution witness – Kevin Whelan – who is in the Witness Protection Programme.
Ryan appealed against his conviction on grounds including that the trial judge had failed to give the jury proper warnings concerning the protected witness's evidence, in particular as regards the corroboration (independent testimony that tends to show that the crime was committed and was committed by the accused person) of such evidence.
It was also argued the judge further erred by refusing to compel the prosecution to inform the defence of all arrangements and benefits given to the witness in the protection programme.
Mr Tobin was killed at 5.15am on May 27, 2007. The court heard that both the gunman and Ryan abandoned the bike and set it on fire a short distance from the scene of the shooting.
Ryan told Mr Whelan that Blake Tobin was going to be killed by the accused's girlfriend's father, Michael Murray, who is now deceased.
Mr Whelan told the court he received a call from Ryan saying Blake Tobin was "getting it".
Taking to the stand in his own defence, Ryan told his counsel that he admitted to being involved in the fatal shooting because he had been bullied in to making a false confession by detectives.
Ryan denied he made the statement because he knew Mr Whelan had made a statement implicating him in the offence and the cat was out of the bag.