Donegal nightclub owner Shortt wins miscarriage of justice case

 

The Court of Criminal Appeal has ruled in favour of an application by Donegal nightclub owner Mr Frank Shortt for a certificate declaring a miscarriage of justice, arising from a 1995 conviction.

Mr Shortt served a three-year prison sentence for allegedly knowingly allowing his club - The Point Inn, Inishowen, Co Donegal - to be used for the sale of drugs. The conviction was quashed in November 2000.

Detective Garda Noel McMahon - ruled to have given false evidence at the original trial of Mr Shortt

The Court ruled that two garda witnesses in the case, Superintendent Kevin Lennon and Detective Garda Noel McMahon had given false evidence at the original trial and "deliberately concealed" a number of documents.

The court said: "If these documents had been produced at trial they would have been severely damaging to the credibility of the primary prosecution witness."

The three-Judge court said: "This was, to use no stronger language, a grave defect in the administration of justice, brought about by agents of the State."

Outside the court Mr Shortt said he and his wife had suffered extensively but today's ruling showed that "justice was alive and kicking".

In reference to gardaí, Mr Shortt said he could not condemn the whole force on account of a few bad apples.

During some sixteen days of evidence in the Court of Criminal Appeal, Detective Garda McMahon repeatedly denied asking a woman to plant drugs in Mr Shortt’s nightclub or that he planted drugs there himself.

Two Co Donegal women, Ms Adrienne McGlinchey and Ms Sheenagh McMahon, the estranged wife of Det Garda McMahon, made a number of serious allegations against gardaí, including a claim that Det Garda McMahon had said he had perjured himself during his trial and that he did so in order to get Supt (then Inspector) Lennon promoted.

Both gardaí, who were formerly attached to Buncrana Garda station, denied these and other allegations.