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Ex-Sinn Fein councillor who tortured man denies Provo link and being close to party bosses

By Andrew Phelan

A former Sinn Fein councillor who tortured a man in his garage has denied the victim was told he was in the IRA and a friend of Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald.

Jonathan Dowdall (40) is insisting some of the case against him is wrong and does not accept prosecution evidence there were references made to the IRA and the two Sinn Fein politicians during the victim's ordeal.

He also maintains the imprisonment of the victim did not last for three hours and that he never threatened his family.

He made the claims through his lawyer just before he was due to be sentenced at the Republic of Ireland's Special Criminal Court.

Evidence and mitigation had already been heard earlier this month. Senior Counsel Michael O'Higgins, defending, asked for a new hearing if the disputed evidence is going to add to Dowdall's sentence.

Prosecutor Vincent Heneghan said it was "far too late".

Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy adjourned the case for further submissions on May 30.

Dowdall was remanded in custody along with his father, Patrick (60), who is also facing sentencing for his part in the crime and who is making the same claims about the evidence.

The father and son, both of Navan Road, Dublin 7, pleaded guilty to falsely imprisoning and threatening to kill Alexander Hurley at their home on January 15, 2015.

Previously, the court heard Jonathan Dowdall suspected Mr Hurley, a convicted fraudster, of conning him over a motorbike sale when he invited him to his Dublin home for dinner before tying him up and waterboarding him.

The court heard Mr Hurley pleaded for his life as Jonathan Dowdall covered his face with a cloth and doused his head with water, while Patrick Dowdall threatened to cut his fingers off with pliers.

Yesterday, Mr O'Higgins said the accused was wrong in what he did, but he did not accept some aspects of the evidence.

The first was the evidence he had invited the victim to dinner - Dowdall would say the call was "the other way around," and there was no invitation to dinner.

There were references to him having a position in the IRA and that he was friends with Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald, and these were not accepted by the defence.

It was also suggested that his client threatened the injured party's family, but he would "never contemplate making such a threat".

Mr O'Higgins said he also wished to bring to the court's attention that there was a new LinkedIn profile for Mr Hurley in which he appeared to describe himself as a medical doctor and an A&E general medical consultant.

"The concern arises that if the matters I have highlighted were matters that were feeding into how a sentence was constructed, he (the accused) would wish to place on record his views," Mr O'Higgins said. "If the court is of the view that a conflict exists, regrettably I would have to ask that there be a hearing of it."

Vincent Heneghan, prosecuting, said the State had relied on the book of evidence which was "long served" on the accused, and the evidence had not been contested during the sentencing hearing.

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