Kevin Lunney subjected to ‘ordeal of callous brutality’, court hears

Attack on Quinn Industrial Holdings director aimed to terrify and intimidate him, says barrister

 Kevin Lunney has told the court that he was bundled into the boot of a car near his home and driven to a container where he was threatened and told to resign as a director of Quinn Industrial Holdings. Photograph: BBC Spotlight

Kevin Lunney has told the court that he was bundled into the boot of a car near his home and driven to a container where he was threatened and told to resign as a director of Quinn Industrial Holdings. Photograph: BBC Spotlight

 

Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) director Kevin Lunney was subjected to an “ordeal of callous brutality and gratuitous violence” designed to terrify and intimidate him and to leave him with injuries he would never forget, a barrister has told the Special Criminal Court.

Sean Guerin SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, began his closing speech to the three-judge, non-jury court on Tuesday morning. He said the evidence heard over eight weeks had shown “intricate and detailed connections” between the four accused and Cyril McGuinness, now deceased, and alleged by the prosecution to have organised the offences against Mr Lunney.

Mr Lunney has told the court that he was bundled into the boot of a car near his home and driven to a container where he was threatened and told to resign as a director of QIH. His abductors cut him with a Stanley knife, stripped him to his boxer shorts, doused him in bleach, broke his leg with two blows of a wooden bat, beat him on the ground, cut his face and scored the letters QIH into his chest, the court heard. They left him bloodied, beaten and shivering on a country road at Drumcoghill in Co Cavan where he was discovered by a man driving a tractor.

Not guilty

Alan O’Brien (40), of Shelmalier Road, East Wall, Dublin 3; Darren Redmond (27), from Caledon Road, East Wall, Dublin 3; Luke O’Reilly (68), with an address at Mullahoran Lower, Kilcogy, Co Cavan; and a 40-year-old man named as YZ, have all pleaded not guilty to false imprisonment and intentionally causing serious harm to Mr Lunney at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan, on September 17th, 2019.

The court, said Mr Guerin, should be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the four accused having seen evidence of the “striking and detailed pattern of movement” and the connections between the accused, McGuinness and locations and vehicles that were “intimately connected to the offences”.

Three of the accused, Mr O’Brien, Mr Redmond and YZ were directly connected to a Kangoo van in which DNA matching Mr Lunney’s was found in an area of suspected blood staining, said counsel. Mr Guerin said the DNA evidence was “utterly incapable of explanation by any innocent circumstances” and rejected a suggestion that the DNA was “put there by foul means”.

Mr O’Reilly, he said, was connected to the offences by his ownership of the yard where Mr Lunney was held and assaulted and by his connection to McGuinness. It was a request by McGuinness for Mr O’Reilly to get bleach, to destroy forensic evidence, which provided the key to the investigation, said Mr Guerin.

Gardaí discovered Mr O’Reilly had bought bleach at the relevant time and also discovered a connection to McGuinness through his phone records.

Mr Guerin opened by saying Mr Lunney had shown a remarkable ability to say what happened to him with “extraordinary poise” and “care and considerable precision”. He had left the court with a “compelling and very detailed account” that allows other evidence to be assessed by reference to Mr Lunney’s account.

Blunt instrument

Counsel said the charge of causing serious harm is borne out by the injuries suffered by Mr Lunney including knife wounds to his face and chest and a broken leg suffered following two blows of a blunt instrument.

Mr Guerin said: “In this case there is no cause for dwelling on the legal features of those charges. The account given of the ordeal was a remarkable one, mostly for what he said happened to him, which was an ordeal of callous brutality and gratuitous violence inflicted with calculated ease, almost calmly, and with a distinct sense of purpose.”

He said the offences may have been carried out to “service the ends of other persons” but there was no doubt what their purpose was: “to terrify and intimidate Mr Lunney and to leave him with injuries which would never allow him to forget the ordeal or the purpose it sought to achieve”.

Serious harm, counsel added, is injury which creates a risk of death or physical impairment or disfigurement.

Mr Guerin said the court should arrive at the “inevitable conclusion” that the four were under the instruction of McGuinness and that he was the “hub” around which the conspiracy evolved.

He concluded: “In those circumstances I say this is one of those cases in which the combination of circumstantial evidence points to no other conclusion than that each of the four accused are guilty of the offences as charged.”