Two charged over conspiracy to kill person or persons unknown at city centre pub
TWO Dublin men charged in connection with an alleged plot to kill a man have had fresh charges brought against them that they conspired to murder “a person or persons unknown.”
Neither Alan Wilson nor Joseph Kelly had anything to say to the charges when they were put to them today, a court heard.
Both Mr Wilson and Mr Kelly were remanded in custody for the preparation of books of evidence on all counts.
Two co-accused men had no new charges brought against them and their cases were also adjourned at Cloverhill District Court.
Defence lawyers claimed the new charges were brought at the 11th hour in an “abuse of process” but Judge Victor Blake refused to strike any of the existing cases out.
Mr Wilson (38) from New Street Gardens, Dublin 8, and Mr Kelly (35) from Kilworth Road in Dublin 12 along with Luke Wilson (23) from Cremonda Road in Ballyfermot and Liam Brannigan (38) from Bride Street in Dublin 8 were already charged with conspiracy to murder Gary Hanley from Dublin’s north inner city on dates between September 15 and November 6 last.
Today, Alan Wilson and Mr Kelly were both further charged with conspiring with each other to murder a person or persons unknown at The 74 Talbot Public House, Talbot Street between September 11 and 15, 2017.
When Liam Brannigan’s case was called, State Solicitor Michael Durkan said he understood the 42 days were up for the service of the book of evidence, but the book was not ready yet.
He understood there was “no consent” to an adjournment but he asked Judge Blake to put the case back for two weeks.
He said the prosecution was awaiting key proofs in the case which were the authorisation of surveillance by three garda superintendents.
Mr Brannigan’s barrister Miriam Delahunt said there was no consent to “any time whatsoever” being granted and asked Judge Blake to strike the charge out.
“It took almost four months for directions (of the DPP) to be given on a charge that could not have stayed in the district court,” she said.
The State was “well aware of the difficulties” and had had six weeks to prepare the book of evidence, she said.
Mr Brannigan had been in custody since November 13 and the State had been “dragging its heels” in a manner that she could ony describe as “an abuse of process,” Ms Delahunt said.
Mr Durkan said of three superintendents, one had delivered the authorisation needed and the other two were awaited. He said he hoped the books of evidence would be ready soon.
The other three accused were then called and sat alongside each other.
Detective Garda John Rourke of the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau said he further charged Mr Kelly at 11am this morning, before the court sitting.
He made no reply to the new charge after caution and was handed a copy of the charge sheet.
Mr Durkan said the DPP was directing trial on indictment on the new charge.
Mr Kelly’s solicitor, David Linehan, said he was not applying for bail but was applying for legal aid, which Judge Blake granted.
The judge asked if Mr Kelly was consenting to appearing by video link on the next date.
“Yeah,” Mr Kelly said.
Mr Linehan said Mr Kelly had been in custody since he was arrested on November 6 last.
“It is accepted that it’s a complex case that involves a lot of evidence being gathered, it’s also the case that not all the evidence needs to be included in the book of evidence,” Mr Linehan said.
He said the State had taken the position that there was enough evidence to prosecute Mr Kelly. Mr Linehan said the preparation of the book of evidence was “not an unduly onerous requirement” and the State’s failure to comply with that requirement had not been adequately explained.
It had now reached a “critical point” and he asked the judge to strike the existing case out.
Alan Wilson rose briefly to identify himself when his name was called out.
Detective Garda Brian Johnson said he charged Alan Wilson before the court at 11.04am and he also made no reply to the charge after caution and was handed a copy.
The DPP also directed trial on indictment, Mr Durkan said.
Aoife O’Halloran BL, for Alan Wilson, asked to clarify if his new charge was to be incorporated into the same book of evidence, or if it was “a stand alone charge.”
“No, they are all travelling together,” Mr Durkan said.
On the existing charge, Alan Wilson had been in custody for a “significant period of time.” This was not satisfactory and the onus was on the State to get the superintendents’ authorisation, Ms O'Halloran said.
This was “very easy to discharge,” superintendents were very easily located and there should be pressure applied to ensure that this was “done with some expedience.”
The case “went down to the wire” for the DPP’s directions, which arrived at the 11th hour, she said, and “we find ourselves again at the 11th hour with new charges being proferred.”
“This is a tactic being deployed by the State to garner the benefit of another 42 days,” Ms O’Halloran said.
It was a “complex and unusual charge” with a large file to be considered, Mr Durkan said.
The prosecution would move with “all reasonable haste,” he said.
The prosecution had taken the “maximum amount of time at each phase of the this prosecution,” Ms O’Halloran said.
Judge Blake said the State should make every effort to have the authorisations and the book prepared.
Alan Wilson did not apply for bail and free legal aid was assigned.
In Luke Wilson’s case, his solicitor Matthew De Courcy said today was the final day of the 42 day time period, and directions had been given on February 21.
Judge Blake asked Mr Durkan how optimistic he was about the books being ready in a week.
“Two weeks definitely,” he replied.
Judge Blake refused to strike out any of the cases, extended the time needed for the service of the books of evidence and adjourned Alan Wilson and Mr Kelly’s cases to April 11.
The judge said while he would not strike out Mr Brannigan or Luke Wilson’s cases, he marked then peremptory against the State, meaning they could be struck out on the next date if the books of evidence are not ready then. Their cases were adjourned to April 18.
Luke Wilson and Joseph Kelly are also charged with possession of a Beretta firearm and 15 rounds of 9mm ammunition with intent to endanger life on November 6.
None of the four accused have indicated how they intend to plead to any of the charges.