ONE of Ireland's most feared gangland criminals has been sensationally cleared of a murder charge after a trial that lifted the lid on organised criminality in the capital.
Christopher Zambra (38) – a key associate of the gang who organised the murder of Real IRA terror chief Alan Ryan – is now a free man after spending three years in jail on remand.
Senior sources say that there are fears that associates of Zambra may now start a campaign of terror against the family of State supergrass Joey O'Brien.
A source said: "Git Zambra is at the very top of the food chain – of course there is a lot of concern that he is out.
"There has been talk that he is wanted in the UK for other offences but there is no European Arrest Warrant in place."
Convicted armed robber Zambra, of Galtymore Road, Drimnagh, had pleaded not guilty to murdering John Carroll in Grumpy Jacks in The Coombe.
The 33-year-old Carroll, from Charlemont Street in Dublin, was shot dead as he socialised there on February 18, 2009. The prosecution alleged that Zambra ordered the killing.
It was the second time Zambra had gone on trial for this murder. A jury failed to reach a verdict on the charge against him two years ago.
The case against him centred on the evidence of an accomplice in the murder called Joseph O'Brien.
O'Brien testified that he had two meetings with Christopher Zambra and others in the days before the murder. He said that John Carroll's murder was planned during these meetings and that Zambra was offering €30,000 for his killing.
The jury saw CCTV footage of the arrival of the motorbike to the pub around 9.30pm that night and of the shooting itself.
The motorbike pulled up outside and the passenger, wearing a helmet, went inside and immediately identified Mr Carroll. He shot at him with a pistol.
Mr Carroll was shot a number of times before being taken to hospital, where he died.
O'Brien had admitted his involvement in the killing but was never charged.
He was granted a form of immunity and is now in witness protection.
All sides warned the jury about O'Brien – Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy described him as a serial perjurer and liar, who was guilty of murder.
There was also much criticism of gardai in this and the last trial for how they dealt with O'Brien as an informer.
A woman stood up and shouted abuse at the jury as they delivered their verdict.