The alleged abduction and assault on Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) director Kevin Lunney was the “culmination of a campaign of harassment and intimidation” against the company’s directors, according to a High Court judge.
Mr Lunney was allegedly told to resign and to have all court cases involving the company dropped, according to Mr Justice Paul Burns, as he granted High Court bail to two of the QIH director’s alleged attackers.
Luke O'Reilly (66), from Mullahoran Lower, Kilcogy, Co Cavan and Darren Redmond (25), from Caledon Road, East Wall, in Dublin are facing trial at the non-jury Special Criminal Court for the false imprisonment and serious assault of Mr Lunney at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan on September 17, 2019.
Mr Lunney was found incapacitated on a roadway in Co Cavan on the date in question, having suffered a broken leg and been doused in bleach.
In an interview with the BBC last year, Mr Lunney alleged that the letters ‘QIH’ had been carved into his chest with a Stanley knife during the two-and-a-half hour ordeal.
Granting both men High Court bail on Tuesday morning, Mr Justice Burns said the alleged abduction and assault on Mr Lunney was “vicious, cruel and abhorrent” criminal behaviour which “rightly attracted” great public “revulsion and anger”.
He said any charges arising out of the incident must be viewed as serious and any person convicted of the alleged offences could expect to receive a “significant custodial sentence”.
However, he said the accused were presumed innocent and there was an entitlement to bail.
Mr Justice Burns said the alleged abduction and assault on Kevin Lunney was preceded by a “series of attacks on QIH” but it was “fully accepted” that neither Mr O’Reilly nor Mr Redmond were suspected of being involved of those earlier incidents
The judge said the alleged abduction and assault on Kevin Lunney was the “culmination of a campaign of harassment and intimidation” of the QIH directors. The court was entitled to “contextualise” the alleged abduction and assault on Kevin Lunney, while bearing in mind the presumption of innocence, he added.
He said the alleged abduction and assault of Mr Lunney itself was “intimidatory”. Mr Lunney was allegedly told to resign his directorship and drop “all court cases” involving QIH, the judge said.
His alleged captors told him, the judge said, not to make any statements to gardai “or they will be back”.
Mr Justice Burns said there had been some dispute between the parties about the strength of the evidence against each accused. He said it was sufficient for him to say that the “prosecution case is a reasonably strong one” although there was aspects of the State’s case that “might be open to challenge”.
He said the case was circumstantial in nature, but that was not an indication of strength or weakness in the prosecution’s case.
Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Aoife O’Leary BL, maintained that no conditions of bail could allay the DPP’s concerns, the judge said.
Mr Justice Burns said Mr O’Reilly was almost 67 years of age and had moderate health problems. His family and wife were in the Republic of Ireland and he had long running ties to this jurisdiction. He had no history of violence or intimidation, the judge said, and it was unlikely he would attempt to go on the run.
Mr Justice Burns said Mr Redmond was significantly younger and in good health.
He said the prosecution had fallen short of meeting the standard required to refuse bail. However, it was a “borderline” case, the judge said, and any bail had to be subject to “stringent conditions”.
Mr O’Reilly will be required to enter into his own bond of €75,000 with two independent sureties of €10,000 each.
Mr Redmond will be required to enter into his own bond of €3,000 with two independent sureties in the sum of €10,000 each.
They are required to surrender their passports and not apply for any new or duplicate passports or travel documents.
They are required to sign on twice daily at their local garda stations but this condition was suspended until such time as there was a relaxation of the current Covid-19 restrictions.
They were directed to furnish the gardai with telephone numbers and for those phones to be switched on at all times and for them to answer those phones to gardai. Failure to do so would represent a breach of bail.
Mr O’Reilly was required not to come within 10km of Mr Lunney’s home or place of business.
They are also required to obey a curfew and and not to have any contact with the alleged injured party or any prosecution witnesses.
Mr O’Reilly and Mr Redmond are facing trial at the non-jury Special Criminal Court, along with Alan O’Brien (39), of Shelmalier Road, East Wall and a fourth accused who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Mr O’Reilly and Mr Redmond were previously refused bail by the High Court.
However, the decision to charge the men with the more serious Section 4 assault permits them to apply again. They had originally been charged with assault causing harm but are now facing charges of assault causing serious harm.
Books of evidence were served on all four accused on March 26.
Mr O’Reilly and Mr Redmond appeared via video link from Portlaoise Prison and could be seen wearing face masks on the court’s televisions screens throughout the two-day hearing.
“Please switch off all mobile phones and maintain social distancing,” the court crier told people assembled in court for the hearing.