Monday 17 December 2018

Employee in office of Director of Public Prosecutions accused of leaking confidential information

Courts of Criminal Justice
Courts of Criminal Justice

Tom Tuite

AN EMPLOYEE in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is facing trial accused of leaking confidential information in connection with murder trials.

Jonathan Lennon, aged 34, from Clonee, Dublin 15, is accused of breaking the Official Secrets Act in relation to criminal proceedings resulting from the murder of dissident republican Peter Butterly.

Butterly was shot dead outside The Huntsman Inn, Gormanston, Co Meath, in 2013.

Mr Lennon appeared before Judge Gerard Jones at a district court in Dublin and was ordered to appear again in September when he will have to say how he will plead.

The father of three is accused of four offences contrary to Section Four and 13 of the Official Secrets Act 1963, as amended by Section 48 of the Freedom of Information Act 1997.

A State solicitor told Judge Jones the prosecution has made disclosure of evidence and the case would have to be adjourned.

The prosecution also said it was a complicated case and it would be a lengthy hearing.

CCTV evidence along with DVDs of interviews had to be handed over to the defence.

The charges related to breaches of the Official Secrets Act, the prosecution solicitor said, adding, “it is a serious matter, four alleged offences”.

The court heard the case involved alleged communications over two days.

Judge Jones agreed to make minor amendments to the charges in relation to the dates of the offences. He also made an order for full disclosure of evidence.

Dressed in blue jeans, a grey blazer and a white shirt, the accused remained silent during the hearing. Mr Lennon was informed by the judge that he will have to indicate how he intended to plead at the next hearing.

Anne FitzGibbon, defending, asked for legal aid to be granted to her client whom she said worked for the DPP but has been suspended from his job and was getting €400 a week.

He had a family and a mortgage, the solicitor submitted.

Legal aid was granted by the judge.

It is alleged that on Sept. 7, 2017 and the following day, at a place unknown in Dublin, without authorisation, he communicated with another person official information within the possession, custody or control of the DPP, a holder of public office, relating to the prosecution of individuals arising from the murder of Peter Butterly on March 6, 2013.

His case will resume next month at Blanchardstown District Court.

On Tuesday at the Special Criminal Court, Dean Evans, 27, of Grange Park Rise, Raheny, Dublin, was given a mandatory life sentence for the murder of 35-year-old father of three Peter Butterly who was from Dunleer, Co. Louth.

Evans was extradited from Spain earlier this year after he spent 18 months on the run.

Two other men are already serving life sentences for the murder, after being found guilty in March this year. Edward McGrath, 35, of Land Dale Lawns, Springfield, Tallaght and Sharif Kelly, 47, of Pinewood Green Road, Balbriggan had both denied the murder.

Three other men are due to go on trial later this year on the same murder charge.

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