Application by relative of Cyril McGuinness over seized phones struck out

Sister-in-law of criminal was on her way with his widow to UK to meet undertaker when phones seized

 Cyril McGuinness pictured leaving Dublin District Court in 2014.  Photograph: Collins Courts.

Cyril McGuinness pictured leaving Dublin District Court in 2014. Photograph: Collins Courts.

 

A High Court judge has struck out an injunction application brought by a relative of convicted criminal, Cyril McGuinness, over the seizure of her phones.

McGuinness, known as Dublin Jimmy, died of a suspected heart attack some hours after a police raid in the UK last month.

Barbara Sloan, a sister-in-law of the deceased, was travelling to see undertakers in the UK with Mary McGuinness, Cyril McGuinness’s widow when they were taken off a flight at Dublin Airport.

Barbara Sloan, of The Green, Seatown Park, Swords, Co Dublin, pictured leaving court on Monday. Photograph: Collins Courts
Barbara Sloan, of The Green, Seatown Park, Swords, Co Dublin, pictured leaving court on Monday. Photograph: Collins Courts

She claims they were held by Garda detectives for two hours and two mobile phones were seized.

Ms Sloan of The Green, Seatown Park, Swords, Co Dublin brought High Court proceedings seeking various reliefs including an injunction requiring the Garda Commissioner to return the two smartphones to her.

The proceedings, which came before the court earlier this week, were mentioned before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds on Thursday.

Lawyers for Ms Sloan had asked that the case be heard as soon as possible.

However, Tony McGillicuddy BL for the State said there was no urgency to the matter, brought “in haste” as the legal term draws to an end.

An application for the phones would more appropriately be made before the District Court under the 1897 Police Property Act, he said.

The phones were taken as part of “a serious, complex and difficult” investigation, he said.

‘No connection’

Alan Toal BL, for Ms Sloan, said his client had “no connection with and no involvement” in that investigation.

An application under the Police Property Act was not appropriate in this case and the matter was not brought earlier because of a recent illness to a member of his client’s legal team, he said.

His client intended to bring this case before a judge and jury, he said. The phones contained information that the Gardaí are not entitled to, he added.

The judge, noting the phones had been seized in early November, said she was striking out the injunction application.

There was no urgency to the matter and the application to have the phones returned could be made before the District court under the Police Property Act, she said.

The judge also awarded the Commissioner his legal costs.

It is understood Ms Sloan is to appeal Ms Justice Reynolds decision to the Court of Appeal.

Ms Sloan, who travels extensively, had said Mrs McGuinness had asked her to accompany her to Buxton, Derbyshire to meet with undertakers following McGuinness’s death.

After boarding a flight to Manchester they were approached by detectives and taken off the aircraft. Her luggage was searched and their phones confiscated.

She said her phones contained private and business details and she had sought their return through a letter from her solicitors.

The phones were not returned, which resulted in the bringing of proceedings against the Garda Commissioner.

Cyril McGuinness, a convicted criminal was considered a key suspect in the kidnapping and torture of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) director Kevin Lunney. He died from a suspected “cardiac event” some hours after being arrested by British Police.

The raid was part of a series of searches linked to the attack on Mr Lunney in September.