DUBLIN’S Special Criminal Court has refused to halt the Kevin Lunney kidnapping trial after defence lawyers asked for the issue of mobile phone data retention to be referred to Europe.
The defence sought an adjournment, arguing that the law on phone evidence, which had earlier been the subject of weeks of legal argument, was still “unclear”.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt rejected the request to refer the issue to the Court of Justice of the European Union and said the trial, which is in its final stages, will proceed.
Four men are charged over Mr Lunney’s kidnapping and torture in 2019.
The Quinn Industrial Holdings director (52) was bundled into a car outside his Fermanagh, home and taken to a horsebox where his captors broke his leg with a wooden bat, slashed his face with a knife and doused his wounds in bleach while ordering him to resign from the company.
They carved ‘QIH’ into his chest with the knife before dumping him in Drumcoghill, Co Cavan.
Darren Redmond (27), of Caledon Road; Alan O’Brien (40), of Shelmalier Road, both in East Wall, Dublin; and a man who cannot be legally named, known as ‘YZ’ (40), are alleged to have been directly involved in the attack.
Luke O’Reilly (67), from Kilcogy, Co Cavan, is accused of providing “material assistance in the planning and execution of the offences.”
They all face the same charges of false imprisonment and causing serious harm to Mr Lunney on September 17, 2019, which they deny.
Yesterday, Michael O’Higgins SC, for YZ, said the law on mass retention of and access to mobile phone data was unclear.
Prosecutor Sean Guerin SC said any application for an adjournment should have been earlier. There would have to be “weighty reasons” to have a question referred to the CJEU mid-trial and “none has been offered”, he said.
Judge Hunt said the three judges saw no reason to change their view that there was a legitimate basis for the retention of and access to the call data in the case. It was “for this court and this court alone to decide the compatibility of national measures with European law,” he said.