Tuesday 20 August 2019

Solicitor Kean sues over article 'linking him to Kinahan gang'

Celebrity Solicitor, Gerald Kean pictured at the Four Courts for the opening day of his High Court action.Pic: Collins Courts
Celebrity Solicitor, Gerald Kean pictured at the Four Courts for the opening day of his High Court action.Pic: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

Solicitor Gerald Kean has told the High Court he was "shell-shocked" by a front-page newspaper article concerning a visit by members of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) to his Dublin office.

Mr Kean has sued for defamation alleging the March 11, 2016, article in the 'Irish Daily Star', headlined "Kean caught up in CAB probe", wrongly and maliciously linked him to the Kinahan crime gang.

The jury heard the sub-headline on the front-page article said: "Gardaí call to office of 'celebrity solicitor' for file", and the story also stated: "Sources said officers were looking for paperwork relating to the sale or purchase of a house linked to the Kinahan gang."

Mr Kean has sued Independent Star Ltd over the article, published a day after two CAB officers called to his Dublin office.

The defence denies defamation and denies the article means what Mr Kean alleges.

Giving evidence yesterday, Mr Kean said there was no "raid" or "search" of his premises by CAB on March 10, 2016.

He said his office represents several gardaí and, when two members of CAB called to his office that day, he assumed they might be potential new clients. Following a "lovely" conversation with the two about a range of matters including his late father, who was a garda, he said they asked him for any documents concerning a house purchase by a Dublin man, Sean McGovern.

Mr McGovern was described in the newspaper article as aged in his thirties and a business partner of Liam Byrne, who was shot and wounded in a gangland attack at Dublin's Regency Hotel when David Byrne was shot dead. The article said the homes of Mr McGovern and of Liam Byrne were raided earlier the same day, March 10.

The article also said gardaí took away documents from Mr Kean's office concerning the sale or purchase of a property at Kildare Road, Crumlin.

Mr Kean said he was unaware of it but another solicitor in his office told him she had acted in the matter and got the relevant documents for the CAB officers.

He said he was watching a football match at home that night when he was contacted several times by phone by journalists with the 'Star'.

He said he may have used an "expletive" when he "very abruptly", in reply to a specific question from a journalist, said there was no "raid" on his office and had not answered further calls and texts.

He was "shell-shocked" when, while watching an item about the following day's newspaper headlines on TV3, he learned the CAB visit was the subject of a front-page article in the 'Star'.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News