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Men charged over Kevin Lunney abduction granted bail after video-link hearing from Portlaoise Prison

Luke O’Reilly of Kilcogy, Co Cavan and Darren Redmond of East Wall, Dublin are charged with false imprisonment and assault causing serious harm.

The men were were refused bail at Virginia District Court last year.
The men were were refused bail at Virginia District Court last year.
Image: Niall Carson

THE HIGH COURT has granted bail to two men charged with the alleged assault and false imprisonment of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) Director Kevin Lunney, despite garda objections.

Luke O’Reilly (66), from Mullahoran Lower, Kilcogy, Co Cavan and Darren Redmond (25), from Caledon Road, East Wall, Dublin 3 are charged with false imprisonment and assault causing serious harm to Mr Lunney at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan on 17 September 2019.

The two men were served with books of evidence at the Special Criminal Court on 26 March last and it is expected that their trial could potentially begin in January 2021.

Lunney (50), a father of six, was abducted close to his home in Co Fermanagh on the evening of 17 September.

The businessman’s leg was broken, he was doused in bleach and the letters QIH were carved into his chest during the two-and-a-half hour ordeal before he was dumped on a roadside in Co Cavan.

O’Reilly and Redmond appeared this morning via video-link from Portlaoise Prison for the hearing and could each be seen wearing a face mask.

Ruling on the application today, Mr Justice Paul Burns said the abduction and assault of Lunney constituted vicious, cruel and abhorrent criminal behaviour. “There is no doubt that the charges arising out of same must be viewed as extremely serious,” he pointed out.

The judge said that taking all the evidence and submissions together, the prosecution had fallen just short of meeting the standard of proof required for the court to refuse bail. The judge granted bail for both men but stressed that it was subject to stringent conditions.

He explained that this was a second application by the men for bail in the High Court based on a change in their circumstances. A charge of assault causing harm had been substituted by assault causing serious harm, he said, and they had both been recently returned for trial to the Special Criminal Court.

O’Reilly and Redmond were refused bail at Virginia District Court last year and sought to have that decision overturned by bringing an application to the High Court in Cloverhill on 19 December last. However, Mr Justice Robert Eagar refused to grant bail to the two men.

The State had objected to bail on two grounds, arguing that if granted bail the accused men would interfere with the administration of justice and that they were also “flight risks”.

Aoife O’Leary BL, for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), said there was a strong circumstantial case to be made against both men and there were no conditions upon which bail could be granted that would allay concerns. “These offences were intimidatory in nature and there is very strong evidence connecting these individuals to these offences,” she added.

In reply, Michael Bowman SC for Redmond and Mark Mulholland QC for O’Reilly said that there was no evidential basis to justify their clients being refused bail.

Mr Justice Burns went on to read the bail conditions to the court, which heard that O’Reilly must enter his own bond of €75,000 with a cash deposit of €10,000 and not attempt to dissipate or lessen the value of his interest in real property owned by him. The judge said he also required two independent sureties in the sum of €10,000 each.

He also confirmed that O’Reilly must surrender his passport and not apply for any duplicate passport or travel documents.

He must also reside at an alternative address in Co Westmeath, sign on at Athlone Garda Station twice daily, obey a daily curfew of 8am to 8pm, provide a mobile phone number to gardai and keep it charged at all times and not come within a 10km radius of Lunney’s home or place of business.

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Furthermore, he must not have any contact with Lunney or any prosecution witnesses in the case and not leave the jurisdiction or travel to Northern Ireland.

The judge also granted bail to Redmond on his own bond of €3,000 and two independent sureties of €10,000 each.

The conditions of his release are the same as Mr O’Reilly’s except that he must reside at his address in East Wall in Dublin 3 and sign on at Store Street Garda Station twice daily. The condition regarding the dissipation of assets does not apply to Mr Redmond.

In addition, Mr Justice Burns emphasised that there was to be no contact between any of the accused men and if for some reason that it was necessary for them to be in contact with each other then they must contact gardai.

Two other men are facing trial alongside O’Reilly and Redmond. Alan O’Brien (39), of Shelmalier Road, East Wall, Dublin 3 and a fourth man who cannot be named for legal reasons are both also charged with false imprisonment and assault causing serious harm to Lunney on the same occasion.

O’Reilly and Redmond were granted bail until their trial date, which is expected to last between eight and 12 weeks.

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About the author:

Alison O'Riordan

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