A picture of Darren Redmond, one of the men who kidnapped and tortured Kevin Lunney, validates the adage that a single image can convey more than a thousand words.
In the photo, taken at an earlier court appearance, the 27-year-old gave a wide sneering grin while hoisting his middle fingers in the air for the benefit of the camera.
Despite facing the gravest of criminal charges for an act of unrivalled savagery which left an innocent man for dead, Redmond was demonstrating the attitude he shared with his fellow gangsters.
He was parading their collective contempt and defiance for their victim and wider society, without a hint of remorse for their sadistic attack in 2019.
But yesterday the Special Criminal Court again proved its vital role in the fight against organised crime when it wiped the grins from the faces of Redmond and his accomplices.
Each got what they so richly deserved – exemplary prison sentences ranging between 15 and 30 years.
By imposing such stiff jail terms on the kidnappers, who were acting on the orders of the now-deceased gang boss Cyril ‘Dublin Jimmy’ McGuinness, the court ensured that the sentences reflected the enormity of their crime.
The leader of the Dublin-based criminals, identified only as ‘YZ’, by order of the High Court, received 30 years for what Mr Justice Tony Hunt described as a “callous and vicious” attack that was designed to terrorise the QIH executive and his fellow directors into resigning their positions in the company.
YZ’s co-accused, Alan O’Brien, who was second-in-command in the act of corporate terrorism, received a 25-year stretch, while Redmond was sentenced to 18 years with the final three suspended.
Mr Justice Hunt said the court had heard "chilling" evidence of the "deliberate and sinister" surveillance of Mr Lunney and his family in the weeks before the attack.
During a harrowing two-and-a-half hour ordeal Mr Lunney’s leg was broken with a wooden bat, his face and body were slashed with a Stanley knife, and his wounds were doused in bleach.
The knife was also used to carve the letters QIH – for ‘Quinn Industrial Holdings’ – into his chest.
Throughout the torture session carried out in a horse box, the businessman was repeatedly told that he and his co-directors must resign their directorships of QIH immediately.
Seriously injured and terrified, Mr Lunney was then stripped down to his underwear and dumped on an isolated country road.
The judge said the executive, whom he described as an “impressive, measured and careful witness, could have died from his injuries, from hypothermia or from being struck by a car on the dark country road where the gang had left him for dead.
In his victim impact statement Mr Lunney, the judge added, had displayed a "humanity lacking in these three individuals” who had carried out "premeditated and casual brutality" on a "decent man".
But the court acknowledged that although he had displayed remarkable courage, stoicism and resilience, the victim of the attack would have to carry the emotional baggage of his abduction and torture to “his dying day”.
Mr Justice Hunt also sent out an unequivocal message that the toughest sentences would be reserved for the paymaster(s) suspected of orchestrating the attack which was the culmination of a long-running campaign of violence and intimidation.
He said the only reason the court did not impose a life sentence on any of the three kidnappers was that the most severe penalties should be reserved for those who financed or benefited from such crimes.
Meanwhile it is understood that a major garda investigation to unmask the ‘paymaster’ and their associates is closing its net with arrests expected in the New Year.
Specialist officers have been involved in a complex two-year enquiry to uncover the money trail between the paymasters and McGuinness, who is believed to have been paid in the region of €1m.
He was working at the behest of anonymous individuals.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris recently said that he expects to see others being charged in connection with the campaign against the company directors.
Despite the capture of the kidnappers and the death of McGuinness, the threat level against Mr Lunney and his four co-directors remains high, and they are still receiving armed police protection on both sides of the border.
The Mannok management team has said that the threats and intimidation against them and the company will not stop until the paymaster is brought to justice.