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Frail Dundon in court wearing just underwear

A WHEELCHAIR-bound John Dundon appeared in just his underwear before the Special Criminal Court to hear that his trial for the murder of Garryowen rugby player Shane Geoghegan has been adjourned until Friday.

The non-jury court ruled that the trial of the 30-year-old, who appeared wearing only a pair of dark-coloured shorts, should not proceed until a defence application to have the trial adjourned comes before the Supreme Court.

Asked by Mr Justice Paul Butler if he had anything to say about his client's "state of undress", Martin O'Rourke said Dundon was without his own clothes having been discharged from hospital the night before and returned to a Portlaoise Prison cell other than his own.

CLOTHES

It was widely reported that Dundon was admitted to hospital on Monday night after going on hunger strike.

Mr O'Rourke said that his client was not afforded an opportunity to obtain his own clothes and had refused to wear prison clothes.

He said that his client had asked that his own clothes be made available to him for his court appearance.

Mr Justice Butler said the court would not "micro-manage" every matter, telling Mr O'Rourke: "If your client is not going to appear appropriately dressed in court then he will be absent from court."

Mr O'Rourke said there were currently proceedings before the Supreme Court as the defence had written to Chief Justice Susan Denham for an expedited hearing on the decision of the Special Criminal Court not to grant an adjournment in the case.

Dundon's defence team had sought an adjournment until 2014 after they received thousands of pages of what was described as "thrown together" investigative material.

The Special Criminal Court refused after finding it had to balance the potential danger to the life of the proposed chief prosecution witness against the danger of Dundon not receiving a fair trial.

A High Court bid to have the trial adjourned was rejected last Friday.

Mr O'Rourke asked the court for an adjournment in the matter to allow the Supreme Court consider the case.

He said the trial court was composed of the same three judges who, in a previous trial, ruled that the proposed chief prosecution witness in the forthcoming murder trial was a "credible and reliable" witness.

Mr O'Rourke said there was no objective way of determining credibility and as the court had already reached a determination on the credibility of the witness, it would be argued there was a "clear and present perception of potential bias".

Mr O'Rourke said it would be the intention to ask the court to discharge itself from hearing the case.

Counsel for the State Tom O'Connell told the court that he had taken instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions not to consent to any adjournment in the case.

DOOR

Mr Justice Butler said the court would adjourn the matter until Friday as the accused man was now going to the Supreme Court and should be given an opportunity to "get to the door of the court".

John Dundon (29), of Hyde Road, Limerick, was due to stand trial yesterday for the murder of 28-year-old Shane Geoghegan at Clonmore, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, Limerick, on November 9, 2008.

The case was brought before the non-jury Special Criminal Court in August last year as the Director of Public Prosecutions certified that the ordinary courts were inadequate to secure the administration of justice. The trial is expected to last three to four weeks.

hnews@herald.ie


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