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Secret recordings include man accused of conspiring to murder Dublin man discussing shooting

The prosecution say the court will hear “detailed discussions” about how Gary Hanley was to be shot.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

SECRETLY RECORDED CONVERSATIONS involving a man accused of conspiring to commit murder include a discussion about how the intended victim was to be shot, a prosecution barrister has told a court.

Liam Brannigan (37) from Bride Street, Dublin 8, is charged with conspiring to murder Gary Hanley at a location within the State between 15 September and 6 November, 2017.

In the Special Criminal Court this afternoon, Brannigan replied “not guilty” when he was asked how he intended to plea before Justice Paul Coffey, presiding, with Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin and Judge James Faughnan.

Three men who previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder Hanley have already been jailed.

They are Luke Wilson (24), from Cremona Road in Ballyfermot, Dublin; Alan Wilson (39) of New Street Gardens, Dublin 8; and Joseph Kelly (35) of Kilworth Road, Drimnagh, Dublin 12.

Luke Wilson, who also pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a Beretta handgun with intent to endanger life, was jailed for 11 years; Alan Wilson was given six years and Joseph Kelly, who also admitted a weapons charge, was jailed for a total of 12 years.

Following his arraignment, Sean Gillane SC opened the trial of Brannigan by saying that the prosecution will use seized phones, vehicles, observations of movements, and audio recordings obtained during a Garda surveillance operation to prove Brannigan was “fully knowing of the plot” to kill Hanley.

Outlining the prosecution’s case, Gillane told the non-jury court that it will hear how a Garda investigation began in August 2017 arising out of a suspicion of a feud between two groups in Dublin, before gardaí eventually identified that Hanley was an intended murder target.

He said the court will hear that, as a consequence of the Garda investigation, gardaí became suspicious that a tracking device was placed on the car of Hanley’s partner.

“That vehicle was stopped by gardaí and two tracking devices were found in the car,” Gillane said.

The barrister said that the court will hear how, two days before the tracking devices were found, gardaí observed Brannigan in the Phoenix Park where he was seen showing a device to a man, before they were joined by a third man.

Gillane said the court will hear how the men chatted before Brannigan handed over the item to an unnamed man.

He said recordings of conversations between the accused and others “make it clear that an operation was in place to attack Gary Hanley at his home in north Dublin”.

He said the court will hear the conversations between the men, generally in pairs, involved “detailed discussions” about how Hanley was to be shot, how they would react if met with resistance, how they would escape and how much money was to be paid.

Gillane said the court will hear a recordings of two conspirators complaining that others were being paid when they were doing all the work, while, in another, one co-conspirator complained that they wouldn’t be paid if Hanley survived.

“This is a conspiracy allegation and the prosecution will rely on the acts done and the words spoken,” Gillane said.

Gillane said that the court will hear how, shortly after 8pm on Monday, 6 November, 2017, gardaí carried out “a planned intervention” when they stopped a Volkswagen caddy van at Philipsburgh Avenue, Marino, Dublin 3, a “short distance” from Hanley’s home.

Gillane said the court will hear the van was being driven by Joseph Kelly while Luke Wilson was in the back seat.

The barrister said the court will be told how the two men were arrested, their phones were seized and a semi-automatic pistol with 15 rounds of ammunition, a “sound suppressor” and a container of petrol were found during the arrest.

Gillane said the non-jury court will hear how separately, but on the same evening, Alan Wilson was arrested on the Crumlin Road Dublin 12.

He also said evidence will be given about how, on the same evening, gardaí travelled to the home of Brannigan when he was seen on Hanover Lane, Dublin 8, in a car park on his mobile phone.

The barrister said the court will hear how, upon seeing gardai approach him, Brannigan ran to the rear of the parking lot and, just before his arrest, threw a mobile phone into the grounds of the adjoining St Nicholas of Myra Church on Francis Street.

Gillane said the court will hear how gardaí secured the discarded phone by dialling the number they believed they had for the phone – causing it to ring.

Gillane said another phone found on Brannigan – which was only used on 6 November, 2017 – will also be of relevance during the trial.

The barrister said the court will hear about several vehicles, including a Seat with false registration plates which was to be used as the getaway vehicle after the planned shooting, and a white Volkswagen caddy van which was to be used by “the shooter” Luke Wilson and was to be driven to the location of the planned shooting by Joseph Kelly.

The court will also hear about a white Nissan van which, Gillane said, the prosecution say was used by Brannigan and his co-conspirators “extensively as a spotter car” and for surveillance on Hanley.

Gillane said the court will also hear about a BMW with false registration plates, and a Renault Laguna which the prosecution says was used for surveillance and for “ferrying” the co-conspirators.

The barrister also told the court that it will hear that Brannigan was observed driving some of the cars and driving by the home the Hanley.

He also said that the court will be told that it is “clear” from Garda surveillance that a number of reconnaissance trips were organised to include Brannigan travelling from south Dublin to north Dublin, during the day and night, “in order to make arrangements to carry out the attack”.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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Olga Cronin

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