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Dublin man to have conviction quashed after spending 11 months in prison for a crime he didn't commit

Declan Tynan (28) was released on bail last October after another 30-year-old man admitted to being responsible for the violent disorder charge Tynan had been jailed for.

SCC Rolling 5 Source: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

A DUBLIN MAN who spent 11 months in prison for a conviction of violent disorder is likely to have that conviction quashed and declared a miscarriage of justice after a second man came forward to say he was the guilty party.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has told the Court of Appeal that it will not be challenging an application to have the conviction of 28-year-old Declan Tynan overruled after another man, who does not know Tynan, swore an affidavit saying it was he who had committed the crime.

In all likelihood, that will render the overturning of Tynan’s conviction a formality when the matter comes to hearing in two weeks’ time, given the State has chosen not to defend the action.

It is an extremely unusual course of action for the DPP not to object to such an application.

Tynan was sentenced to four years in prison, with the last year suspended, in January 2017 for allegedly taking part in a fight involving weapons at a Ladbrokes bookmakers in Killinarden, Tallaght, on 13 December 2012.

Five men took part in that incident, which saw a man and his brother stabbed with a short blade. Investigating gardaí determined that Tynan was one of the three assailants after a Garda based at Kevin Street Garda Station, who was not involved with the investigation, identified him positively from CCTV footage of the incident.

The conviction of violent disorder was arrived at based solely on the evidence of that Garda, as the two victims of the assault declined to cooperate with gardaí.

The charge of violent disorder does not require a victim in order to secure a conviction. There was no witness to the fight who could positively identify Tynan.

Two of Tynan’s fellow accused, Jamie Griffin and Sean Kenny who were also identified by the Garda, subsequently pleaded guilty to affray and received sentences. Tynan, meanwhile, having pleaded not guilty, was convicted by the majority of an 11-person jury.

Affidavit

Last September, a 30-year-old man came forward and swore an affidavit that it was he, and not Tynan, who had been the third assailant in the bookmakers, having first alerted Tynan’s family to that fact when he became aware that the other man was in prison for the crime.

The DPP has not contradicted that affidavit.

It’s understood that, in a statement forwarded to the DPP, the man declared that he had heard that a father of two children, Tynan, was serving time in Mountjoy for a crime that he had in fact committed, and that he couldn’t deal with the guilt associated with that fact.

Tynan had maintained his innocence from when the initial charges were brought and throughout the trial, further asserting in the aftermath of his conviction that he had not even been present in the betting shop at the time of the assault.

Following his initial sentencing, he applied to the Court of Appeal for a review of his conviction.

Key to that appeal had been Tynan’s assertion that, given his conviction relied solely on his identification from CCTV footage by one Garda, who was not connected to the investigation, the process by which that conviction was arrived at was unsafe.

The appeal was dismissed in July 2017 by a three-judge panel, who found no grounds to doubt the process which led to Tynan’s identification, nor to question the fact that the prosecution declined to disclose prior entries on the Garda PULSE system regarding Tynan due to their containing “privileged material”.

Release

Last October, roughly four weeks after the swearing of the new affidavit, indicating it was the other man who had actually committed the crime, Tynan was released on bail.

He had spent a total of 11 months in custody, first in Cloverhill remand prison following his conviction in December 2016, and subsequently in Mountjoy following his sentencing in January 2017.

Last Friday, during case management for the miscarriage of justice application at the Court of Appeal, counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions told Justice George Birmingham, presiding, that the DPP would not be opposing the application to declare a miscarriage of justice, but also asserted a lack of conviction that the third man in the CCTV footage was in fact the man who had recently come forward.

In response, counsel for Tynan, Eoghan Cole BL, suggested that the DPP’s thoughts on the matter are now “of limited interest” given they could find no reason to argue that Tynan’s conviction had not been a miscarriage of justice.

Justice Birmingham, upon hearing that the DPP would not be objecting to the application, sent the matter forward for hearing on 24 April.

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