Man charged in connection with Garda surveillance operation admits taking photos

Deirdre Murphy SC: said her client had  instructed her to make a number of formal admissions

Deirdre Murphy SC: said her client had instructed her to make a number of formal admissions

 


A man charged in connection with an alleged surveillance operation on the Dublin headquarters of a number of specialist Garda units has admitted taking photos of the complex after renting a room in an overlooking hotel.

Corey Mulhall was arrested in September 2012 after detectives observed suspicious activity at a hotel close to Harcourt Square. The Harcourt Square building is home to the Special Detective Unit, whose tasks include monitoring the activities of dissident republicans.

Mr Mulhall (41), Daletree Court, Ballycullen, has pleaded not guilty to membership of the IRA on September 26th, 2012.

Deirdre Murphy SC, for Mr Mulhall, yesterday told the judges in the non-jury court that she had been instructed by Mr Mulhall to make a number of formal admissions.

She said that Mr Mulhall wished to admit that on September 26th, 2012, he went to the Harcourt Hotel in the company of a man who had offered him money on behalf of another unnamed man, who was in dispute with gardaí, to take photos of a garda who drove a specified vehicle.

Mr Mulhall booked a room in the Harcourt Hotel under the name “Jason Egan” and requested a room at the front of the building, having been initially offered one at the rear.

He brought with him a rucksack containing a number of personal items, including his camera, and between 14.15pm and 16.53pm, Mr Mulhall took photographs mainly of the right-hand-side of the Garda complex on Harcourt Street.

Ms Murphy told the court that there would also be no issue with regard to Mr Mulhall’s arrest and detention.

Following a defence application on Thursday, the court ruled that the trial could proceed, despite the non-disclosure to the defence of a document offering an alternative explanation for Mr Mulhall’s arrest.

Ms Murphy had told the court that the document, written under the pseudonym “John Kenny”, set out what the author perceived to be a number of “victories” achieved by him in an “ongoing battle” with gardaí of the stolen motor vehicles unit, also based at Harcourt Square.

In the course of the redacted 10-page document, “Mr Kenny” makes certain allegations about gardaí in the unit and states that by September 2012, he believed the best manner to protect himself was to make the story public in the media, for which he would need photographs of the gardaí involved.

Later in the document, the author outlines how he came to pay €200 to a man he believed to be connected to dissident republicans to book a room at the Harcourt Hotel and take more photographs of Harcourt Square.

“Mr Kenny” said he gave the man €200 to “appease him” and came to believe the man was a “Garda informer” and was there to “set him up on a fake charge”. The author alleges that Mr Mulhall was arrested in the context of these circumstances.

Ms Murphy said that the defence received this document in November 2013, while a full, unredacted version of the document signed by the author using his real name was sent by registered post to the DPP earlier in the year.

She told the court that a garda in the stolen vehicles unit also gave a statement outlining how she took a copy of the unredacted document in May 2013 and contacted the Special Detective Unit, which is charged with investigating the case at trial, and told them of her findings.

Vincent Heneghan, prosecuting, has told the court it is his case that the activities in the hotel corroborate other evidence that will be given at the trial, including the opinion evidence of a Garda chief superintendent that Mr Mulhall was a member of the IRA on September 26th, 2012.

The trial continues on Tuesday before Mr Justice Paul Butler.