Tuesday 16 January 2018

Chaos in court as second man charged in connection with Alan Ryan murder

Alan Ryan
Alan Ryan

Tom Tuite

CHAOS broke out in a court today as a second man was accused of withholding information from gardai investigating the murder of Real IRA leader Alan Ryan.

Three men were warned that they risked being jailed for contempt of court after shouts and taunts of abuse were levelled at the accused man, 27-year-old Robert Carroll.

Alan Ryan, a 32-year-old dissident republican was shot in body, legs and head, by a masked gunman on September 3 while walking along Grange Lodge Avenue, in Clongriffin, in north Dublin, near his home.

Another man who had been with him sustained a wound to his leg. Gardai later recovered a burnt-out car at Hole in the Wall Road in Donaghmede which was believed to have been was used by the killers.

Today jobless father-of-one Robert Carroll, appeared at Dublin District Court charged under Section 9 of the Offences Against the State Act. He was granted bail, which he has yet to take up, in the sum of €30,300.

He is accused of withholding information which might have been of material assistance securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of a person in connection with the murder. The offence on conviction can carry a possible five-year jail sentence.

Detective Garda Alan Roche told Judge William Early that Carroll made no reply when he was charged yesterday night at Coolock Garda station.

Det-Gda Roche objected to bail saying Mr Carroll was considered to be a “bona fide flight risk” who leaves the country frequently and has resided outside this jurisdiction. He also said the man regularly changes his address and has been living in hotels.

Det-Gda Roche said the investigation was complex and involved vast amounts of CCTV, witness statements as well as phone, computer and fingerprint analysis.

He agreed with defence solicitor Jenny McGeever that Mr Carroll has family including one child living in Ireland.

In a bail application, the defence lawyer told Judge Early that “my client will fight this case fully and has indicated so during seven days of detention and questioning in the Garda station”.

She said Mr Carroll, from Ard Cluain, Clonee, Co. Meath, had left the jurisdiction earlier this year to attend a kick-boxing competition for two weeks. Apart from going to Australia several years ago, Mr Carroll has never lived outside the jurisdiction for a protracted period.

She submitted that “he has strong ties to this jurisdiction”, would surrender his passport and obey bail terms.

Judge Early said he would grant bail in Mr Carroll's own bond of €300 with an independent surety in the sum of €30,000 of which €10,000 must be lodged. Gardai are to be given 24-hours' notice if anyone intends to stand bail so their veracity can be checked.

If bail is taken up, Mr Carroll must surrender his passport and not apply for duplicate travel documents, sign-on daily at a garda station and not “interfere with directly or indirectly with any witnesses in the case”. The prosecution were not seeking a curfew condition, the judge was told.

Mr Carroll, who was wearing a black jacket, black tracksuit trousers and white runners spoke once during the hearing saying “yes” to confirm that he was seeking legal aid, which was granted.

He was remanded in custody with consent to bail and will appear again at Cloverhill District Court on October 31.

After Judge Early made his order, some men who had been watching the proceedings began to shout amid tense scenes.

More taunts were directed at another group of men at the back of the court who were accused of being there “to support him” followed by a yelling,“You should be ashamed of yourselves”.

However, these people spoke back saying they were on the court's list for their own cases.

As the disturbance continued, Judge Early sternly warned the group that he would hold them in contempt of court. After they stormed out, the judge instructed gardai to bring them back into the courtroom.

Three men, including were escorted in to stand before the judge who told them that the defendant was entitled to the presumption of innocence.

The judge then told the three men: “The court does not tolerate its business being interrupted by people in the gallery shouting at anybody.” He then warned them that if it happened again, “I will hold you in contempt and sentence you to prison”.

Yesterday, Thomas Hunt (39) from Canon Lillis Avenue, in Dublin city's north-side, was charged with withholding information. When he appeared at Dublin District Court, he was heckled by Alan Ryan supporters who were put out of the courtroom.

He was remanded in custody with consent to bail in his own bond of €6,000 of which E2,000 must be lodged. An independent surety in the sum of €10,000 has to be approved to allow him take up bail. He will also appear again at Cloverhill District Court next Wednesday.

At the time of his death, Alan Ryan was on bail awaiting trial on serious charges arising from an alleged extortion racket. He had also served sentences for IRA membership and firearms offences.

Ryan, who is believed to have had disputes with Dublin criminals, was buried on September 8. A volley of three shots was fired over his coffin during his paramilitary-style funeral which was attended by hundreds of people.

Gardai were present but did not intervene in the display, which also involved men and women, in combat uniform with masks and sunglasses, who were surrounded by other mourners.

Later, Justice Minister Alan Shatter defended the gardai for not intervening after the shots were fired saying innocent lives could have been lost.

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