Ex-Sinn Fein councillor told waterboarding victim ‘he was in IRA’

Alexander Hurley claims in court Jonathan Dowdall told him his family would be killed

  Gardai at Jonathan Dowdall’s house on the Navan Road in  Dublin last year. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Gardai at Jonathan Dowdall’s house on the Navan Road in Dublin last year. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

A man who was falsely imprisoned and waterboarded by a former Sinn Fein councillor has alleged the accused told him he was a member of the IRA and his family would be killed if he went to gardaí.

Last month, footage recorded on a mobile phone was shown to the Special Criminal Court of Jonathan Dowdall (38) wearing a balaclava and holding a tea-towel to the man’s face before pouring water over his head.

The court heard that Jonathan Dowdall believed the victim, Alexander Hurley, was pretending to be a barrister and that he was seeking his bank details in order to defraud him.

The two men had met after Dowdall had advertised a motorbike for sale on donedeal.ie.

Jonathan Dowdall, with an address at Navan Road, Dublin 7 and his father Patrick Dowdall (59), of the same address, had both admitted to falsely imprisoning Alexander Hurley by detaining him without his consent at Navan Road, Dublin 7 on January 15th, 2015.

‘Newton hearing’

Both men had also pleaded guilty to threatening to kill Mr Hurley at the same place on the same date.

The Special Criminal Court has directed that a “Newton hearing” take place after a dispute arose between the prosecution and the defence on the facts of the case.

On Wednesday, prosecution counsel, Vincent Heneghan SC, called Mr Hurley to give evidence to the hearing.

Mr Hurley told the Special Criminal Court Jonathan Dowdall invited him for dinner in his house. The witness agreed with the prosecution that Jonathan Dowdall told him he was a member of the IRA.

“Patrick Dowdall backed up the statement and said he (Jonathan Dowdall) was a highly recognised figure,” said Mr Hurley.

The witness testified that he was told by Jonathan Dowdall to “get the fuck out of Dublin” and if he went to gardaí ­ he would be “picked up in a matter of hours” and his family would be killed.

‘Silly’

Under cross-examination by Michael O’Higgins SC, defending Jonathan Dowdall, Mr Hurley said he represented himself as a barrister as he was nervous and he did not want to “expose” his “true identity”.

“I know it was silly to do that,” said Mr Hurley.

On Tuesday, Jonathan Dowdall was granted a hearing to settle disputed evidence in the case.

The Special Criminal Court directed that a “Newton hearing” take place today to resolve the conflict on the facts in the case.

Presiding judge Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy said “Newton hearings” were “extraordinarily rare” but it would be permitted in this case in the interests of justice.