Thursday 18 January 2018

Notorious criminal jailed for threatening witness

Barry Duggan

A FEARED criminal who has been the focus of several Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) investigations has been jailed for eight years after he attempted to intimidate a witness ahead of an impending trial.

Brian Collopy (38), of St Senan Street, St Mary's Park, Limerick; and of Ballysimon, Co Limerick; was found guilty by a jury last month of intimating or putting in fear Willie Moran at Island Road, Limerick, on June 9 last year.

Passing sentence, Judge Carroll Moran said the offence committed by the well-known Limerick criminal was an attack on the administration of justice which could not be tolerated.

During the trial, the State argued that Collopy made certain remarks to Mr Moran with the intention of causing the course of justice to be obstructed, perverted or interfered with. Mr Moran is a critical witness in a case against two men which is due to be heard later this month.

Mr Moran -- whose family are under 24-hour garda protection -- was a former associate of Collopy until a dispute arose between the two. Collopy and another man cocked their hands in the shape of guns when they encountered the injured party, his girlfriend and their two children as they drove through Limerick last June.

Collopy shouted at Mr Moran: "Willie, you are going to get it now. Ronan won't save you now."

Collopy's reference to 'Ronan' was to Det Sgt Ronan McDonagh who is based in Henry Street garda station.

Judge Moran said that Mr Moran took the threat to mean he was not to turn up in court.

The court heard that an attempt was made to get Mr Moran to go to a solicitor's office to withdraw the statement against Collopy.

Judge Moran said he considered it hard to imagine a more serious offence.

"An attack like this on the fabric of the administration of justice of this nature cannot be tolerated ... as it undermines the courts and criminal trials in Limerick," the judge said.

He jailed Collopy for eight years and backdated the sentence to last June when he was first detained in custody.

Leave to appeal the sentence on several grounds including its severity was refused.


Collopy has previously come to the attention of CAB in separate investigations.

His home -- Ashby House at Fedamore, Co Limerick -- was seized by CAB in 2003 as part of a €470,000 settlement after investigators found that it had been purchased with the proceeds of criminal activity. Collopy bought the property in March 2002 for more than €150,000 and paid for it in cash. It was sold at public auction for €225,000.

Last year, CAB agreed to return over €15,000 to Collopy and his wife, Maria, after it was seized from the couple while returning to Limerick from a High Court sitting last May.

Collopy, a father of four, was shot twice in the old Francis Street area of Limerick on December 20, 2006. He has 19 previous convictions including criminal damage and attempted larceny.

Irish Independent

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