Sunday 22 April 2018

Man accused of withholding information in Alan Ryan murder to go on trial

Tom Tuite

A DUBLIN man has been sent forward for trial accused of withholding information from gardai investigating the murder of Real IRA leader Alan Ryan.

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

Thomas Hunt (39) from Canon Lillis Avenue, in Dublin city's north-side, is accused of withholding information which might have been of material assistance in securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of a person in connection with the murder.

He made no reply when he was first charged on October 24 last and appeared again today at Dublin District Court. The offence on conviction can carry a possible five-year jail sentence.

Mr Hunt, who has not yet formally indicated how he will plead, was served with a book of evidence and Judge William Hamill heard that the DPP had consented to him being returned for trial.

Judge Hamill told him that he was being sent forward for trial and must appear at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on May 10 next. Dressed in a blue top and sleeveless jacket, and grey tracksuit trousers, he spoke briefly to acknowledge his signature on his bail bond.

The judge also notified Mr Hunt that if he intended to use an alibi in his defence, he must provide the details to the prosecution within 14 days. Legal aid was also granted to Mr Hunt, who is on disability benefit.

At his first appearance in the district court in October one of his lawyers had said that the charge would be “fully contested” by Mr Hunt.

Bail had been set earlier in Mr Hunt's own bond of €6,000 of which €2,000 had to be lodged. His brother was allowed stand independent bail for him in the sum of €10,000.

Mr Hunt had already been told he must reside at new address, which was furnished to the court earlier, and give gardai a mobile phone number so they can contact him.

He has surrendered his passport and was also ordered not to apply for new travel documents. He had also been told that under the terms of his bail he has to sign on three times a week at a garda station and “not interfere with witnesses directly or indirectly”.

His solicitor Yvonne Bambury told Judge Hamill that Mr Hunt had complied with the bail terms “to the letter”.

A second man, who faces the same charge, is to appear again in court later this month to be served with a book of evidence.

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