Sunday 26 January 2020

Sister-in-law of 'Dublin Jimmy' fails in High Court bid to get back phones seized by gardaí

Barbara Sloan. Picture: Collins
Barbara Sloan. Picture: Collins

Aodhan O'Faolain

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 gardaí.

Barbara Sloan, a sister-in-law of McGuinness - who died during a police raid of a house in Derbyshire - was travelling to Manchester 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 were seized.

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

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

Lawyers for Ms Sloan had asked that the 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 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 was "a serious, complex and difficult" investigation.

Alan Toal BL, for Ms Sloan, said his client had "no connection with and no involvement" with 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 gardaí 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 Ms Sloan is to appeal Ms Justice Reynolds's decision. Her main case - claiming damages over the seizure - remains.

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

Ms Sloan said Ms 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.

Irish Independent

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