Man in court over Alan Ryan killing

Wed, Oct 24, 2012, 01:00

A death threat was made today to a man charged in connection with the murder of Real IRA figure Alan Ryan.

Associates of the dissident republican shouted “he should be f****** shot” before Thomas Hunt was brought before Dublin District Court for withholding information.

Ryan was shot dead on September 3rd while walking with an associate on Grange Lodge Avenue, Clongriffin, north Dublin.

Ryan's Real IRA faction was involved in extortion and intimidation of drug dealers and racketeering against pub and club owners.

Mr Hunt (39), is the first person to be charged in relation to Ryan’s murder.

The court room was cleared, with just Mr Hunt’s family members, gardaí, solicitors and members of the media allowed to remain for the hearing, which was held under the Bail Act.

Judge Patricia McNamara called on all members of the public not involved with the hearing to leave, but two men who identified themselves as friends of the late republican refused to do so. “Alan was our friend,” said one.

As gardaí removed the men from the court, he added: "Tiocfaidh ár lá" and “He should be f****** shot.”

The suspect and another man were arrested last Thursday under special anti-gang laws. A Garda spokesman confirmed the second man remains in custody.

Garda Alan Roche, of Coolock Garda station, said Mr Hunt made no reply when charged last night with withholding information which might have been of material assistance in securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of a person on September 3rd.

He told the court it was a complex investigation with various aspects of evidence against the accused, including a large body of CCTV, witness statements and telephonic and computer evidence.

Mr Roche also raised concerns that, given the seriousness of the charge, the accused could flee the jurisdiction if granted bail and told the judge this could not be overlooked.

However Jenny McGeever, in defence, argued her client would be contesting the charge which carries a five-year sentence.

She said gardaí had exhausted every avenue during the seven days they held Hunt, a father-of-two who has lived with his partner for 20 years and was rooted in the community in Dublin’s north inner city. “He had a bad health diagnosis in recent years which received very substantial treatment in hospital and that is an ongoing aspect of his life,” she said, adding that he has no addictions.

The solicitor maintained the only CCTV footage of him showed him making a purchase in his local shop, adding that all other evidence would be tested during a trial. “There isn’t a smidgen of any evidence at all that my client has done anything in respect of these matters to leave the jurisdiction,” said Ms McGeever.

Dressed in a grey tracksuit, hoody and padded body warmer, Mr Hunt did not address the court during the hearing.

Judge McNamara granted bail but imposed the high amount for the bond and surety given the seriousness of the offence and fears expressed by gardaí.

There was no objection to legal aid by gardaí, who have approved an alternative address for Mr Hunt to live at when bailed.

Mr Hunt was freed pending the payment of a bond of €6,000 and independent surety of €10,000.

Conditions include signing on at a Garda station three days a week, providing gardaí with a mobile number, not applying for a new passport and not interfering with witnesses.

Mr Hunt, whose exact Dublin address was not released, will reappear at Cloverhill Court next Wednesday.