How Tiger raiders could walk free in legal 'flaw'

Warrant: Gardai fear appeal could rule in favour of four

Charlie Mallon

FOUR men convicted after two high-profile criminal cases involving multi-million euro armed raids could soon walk free from jail.

The fate of three of the men, who carried out the Tiger kidapping of a Raheny Securicor employee and his family, hinges on a Court of Criminal Appeal decision in the wake of the finding of the Supreme Court that the issuing of certain warrants was unconstitutional.

So too does the continued detention of Cork financier Ted Cunningham, jailed in connection with the €26.5m Northern Bank robbery in Belfast.

His case is due to come before the Court of Criminal Appeal today.

Tiger kidnappers Jason Kavanagh, Mark Farrelly -- serving 25 years -- and Christopher Corcoran jailed for 12 years, will be seeking to have their convictions quashed.

That case is to be mentioned in court on April 26 before judges are assigned for the hearing on April 30 in the Criminal Courts of Justice.

Despite the cost, the lengthy 'Tiger trial' was seen as a major success for the gardai.

However in February, the Supreme Court held that it was unconstitutional for a senior officer involved in an investigation to issue a search warrant for the home of a suspect in the case.

The case involved Ali Charaf Damache (45), an Algerian, of John Colwyn House, High Street, Waterford, who was alleged to have been involved in a conspiracy to murder Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks.

His legal submission that an independent authority such as a judge or peace commissioner should have issued a search warrant was rejected by the High Court but upheld by the Supreme Court.