Monday 27 January 2020

Relative of 'Dublin Jimmy' has application for return of mobile phones seized by gardai struck out by High Court

Cyril ‘Dublin Jimmy’ McGuinness
Cyril ‘Dublin Jimmy’ McGuinness

Tim Healy

The High Court has struck out an injunction application by a relative of deceased criminal Cyril “Dublin Jimmy” McGuinness seeking the return of mobile phones confiscated by gardai.

Barbara Sloan, a sister in law of McGuinniness who died during a police raid of a house in Derbyshire, England, was travelling to the UK with the deceased’s widow, Mary McGuinness, when they were taken off a flight at Dublin Airport.

She claims they were held by garda detectives for two hours and two mobile phones seized.

Ms Sloan of The Green, Seatown Park, Swords, Co Dublin brought High Court proceedings seeking various reliefs including an injunction requiring the Garda Commissioner to return the two smartphones to her.

The case, which first came before the court earlier this week, was mentioned before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds on Thursday.

Lawyers for Ms Sloan had asked that case be heard as soon as possible.

Tony McGillicuddy Bl for the State said there was no urgency to the matter.

It had been brought "in haste" in the last few days before the end of the legal term, he said.

Counsel also said that an application for the phones would more appropriately be made before the District Court under the 1897 Police Property Act.

The phones were taken as part of what counsel said "a serious, complex and difficult" investigation.

Alan Toal Bl, for Ms Sloan, said his client had "no connection with and no involvement" that investigation.

A Police Property Act application was not appropriate in this case and the matter was not brought earlier because of a recent illness to a member of his client's legal team, counsel said.

It was his client's intention to bring this case before a judge and jury and that the phones contained information that the gardai are not entitled to.

The judge, noting the phones had been seized in early November, said she was striking out the injunction application.

She said there was no urgency to the matter and a Police Property Act application could be made before the District Court.

The judge also awarded the Commissioner his legal costs.

It is understood that Ms Sloan is to appeal Ms Justice Reynolds decision.

Her main case claiming damages over the seizure remains in being.

Previously the court heard that Ms Sloan travels extensively and the phones contain business details.

Ms Sloan said Mrs McGuinness had asked her to accompany her to Buxton, Derbyshire to meet with the undertakers following Mr McGuinness's death.

After boarding a flight to Manchester they were approached by detectives and taken off the aircraft. She said her luggage was searched and their phones confiscated.

She said she sought their return through a letter from her solicitors.

They were not returned, which resulted in the bringing of High Court proceedings.

Cyril McGuinness was considered a key suspect in the kidnapping and torture of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) director Kevin Lunney.

He died from a suspected “cardiac event” hours after being arrested by British Police.

The raid was part of a series of searches linked to the attack on Mr Lunney in September.

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