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Dundon sat listening to headphones as he was convicted of murder

John Dundon removed his headphones only to listen to his defence counsel as his solicitor says he maintains his innocence.

What appears to be the prison van carrying John Dundon arriving at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin today.
What appears to be the prison van carrying John Dundon arriving at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin today.
Image: Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland

JOHN DUNDON SAT with his head down bobbing to the rap music playing on his portable CD player as the Special Criminal Court convicted him of the 2008 killing of rugby player Shane Geoghegan.

Dundon, wearing a black and blue tracksuit, removed his headphones only to hear his defence counsel Brendan Nix SC tell the court that Dundon “deeply regrets that Geoghegan lost his life”.

Following Nix’s statement, Dundon quickly fumbled to put his headphones back on as the court imposed upon him a mandatory life sentence.

Before the judgement was read out Nix had asked the court to recuse himself from the case because of a “potential perception of bias” owing to widely reported remarks he had made at a hearing related to a separate gangland crime in Limerick . The court described the submission as “preposterous” and “utterly rejected” it.

Prosecution witnesses

The 23 pages of the 84 page statement read out in court this morning focused heavily on the credibility of the three primary prosecution witnesses, the former partner of Dundon’s brother April Collins, her sister Lisa Collins and her partner at the time of Geoghegan’s killing, Christopher McCarthy.

The judgement found that for the purposes of the judgement all three should be referred to as “accomplices” to the killing and that, although there are inherent dangers of accepting such evidence, “it is no to say that the Court cannot convict without such evidence if it finds the evidence of these witnesses to be credible”.

The court heard that CCTV images appeared to show Lisa Collins and Christopher McCarthy steal a Renault Espace car in October 2008 and the court was satisfied that this was the getaway car used in the killing of Geoghegan the following month.

April Collins was stopped by Gardaí twice on the night of Geoghegan’s death and the court said that it was “reprehensible” that she did not reveal to Gardaí that a killing was about to take place. The court said it understood however that she was “terrified that she would be killed” if she had done so.

The judgement outlined that it was the break-up of Collins’ relationship with Dundon’s brother that had allowed the prosecution take place, saying that Collins was “free from the bonds of secrecy” after she removed herself from the surrounds of the Dundon family.

Judgement

As presiding judge Justice Nicholas Kearns was concluding his summation he went through the evidence of each  of the main witnesses one-by-one and determined that their evidence was indeed credible. The three-judge court singled out the evidence of April Collins saying that the court found her words to be “compelling and truthful” and that she was “steadfast” in her version of events. The determination that the evidence of the main witnesses was credible created an air of inevitability in courtroom and Justice Kearns said that in the end the evidence of Dundon’s guilt was “overwhelming”.

The final decision was greeted with silence throughout the courtroom and whether Dundon heard the judgement or not he did not react when it was made.

Outside of the courtroom Dundon’s solicitor John Devane, who himself accused Dundon of assault in 2009, said that his client still claims to be innocent of the murder and intends to appeal. Devane said that his client maintains that the witnesses had been offered deals to testify against him:

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(John Dundon's solicitor John Devane speaks to the media outside the courts complex in Dublin today. Pic: Sam Boal/ Photocall Ireland)

Devane was also asked about Dundon's behaviour in court and said that his client chose to listen to music rather than hearing the judgement in order to avoid a re-telling of the "tissue of lies" that he says were spoken during the trial:


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Read: John Dundon found guilty of the murder of Shane Geoghegan >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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