Trial of Jim Mansfield Jnr adjourned for almost six months

Special Criminal Court agrees to delay to allow for review of ‘significant’ CCTV footage

The trial of Jim Mansfield Jnr, who is accused of setting up an employee to be taken prisoner by a gang, has been adjourned at the Special Criminal Court for almost six months.

This is the second adjournment in the trial, with the case previously adjourned for several weeks on November 19th after the defence requested time to view newly disclosed CCTV footage.

Last month, Shane Costelloe SC on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions, submitted that gardaí had only become aware that a significant proportion of CCTV footage retained on a harddrive had never been disclosed to the State.

The defence said it amounted to 12 days of CCTV footage and the case should not proceed until they had an opportunity to view the material. The three-judge court ruled that the trial would be adjourned until December 15th.

When the trial re-commenced on Tuesday before the non-jury court, defence counsel Bernard Condon SC said there had been delays in serving the defence with the newly disclosed CCTV footage and he asked for a further adjournment to view the material, which was acceded to.

Significant piece

Furthermore, Mr Condon said a "a very significant piece" of CCTV footage was only served on the defence last week despite the cross-examination of Martin Byrne having concluded.

The court ruled that Mr Condon would be given another opportunity to put further questions to Martin Byrne when he is brought back to the jurisdiction in June.

Following evidence from two Garda witnesses on Wednesday, Mr Costelloe informed the three-judge court that this was as far as the State could take the case and two more weeks were required to complete the trial.

Judge Sinéad Ní Chulacháin reminded counsel for both sides that the case had originally been listed for three weeks, when it began on October 23rd.

Counsel and the three-judge panel went through the Special Criminal Court’s diary as well as the barristers’ schedules over the coming months and the next available date suitable to all parties was June 2nd.

Mr Justice Alexander Owens presiding, sitting with Judge Ní Chulacháin and Judge James Faughnan adjourned the trial until June 2nd. It is listed for mention at the beginning of January.

Martin Byrne (53) has testified that Mr Mansfield Jnr was "a couple of feet away" when he was taken prisoner by the gang of men, which included former INLA man Dessie O'Hare and former republican paramilitary Declan Duffy, after a meeting at a warehouse at Keatings Park in west Dublin. In his evidence, Mr Byrne said that he believed Mr Mansfield Jnr had set him up.

Martin Byrne is now in the Witness Protection Programme along with his wife Lisa Byrne and their son Brandon Byrne (24).

Mr Mansfield Jnr (53), of Tasaggart House, Garters Lane, Saggart, Co Dublin, is accused of conspiring with one or more persons to falsely imprison Martin Byrne on a date unknown between January 1st, 2015 and June 30th, 2015, both dates inclusive.

He is also charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice by directing Patrick Byrne to destroy recorded CCTV footage, with the alleged intention of perverting the course of public justice in relation to the false imprisonment of Martin Byrne at Finnstown House Hotel, Newcastle Road, Lucan, Co Dublin between June 9th, 2015 and June 12th, 2015.

The accused has pleaded not guilty to both counts.