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Witness protection man suing State wants public hearings - judge says no

David Mooney gave evidence in open court in the trial of two men associated with organised crime in 2003.

Image: William Murphy via Flickr

A HIGH COURT judge has ruled that the case of a man formerly in witness protection who is suing the State, will be heard behind closed doors.

David Mooney gave evidence in open court in the trial of two men associated with organised crime who were convicted in November 2003. He claims he was promised a new identity and associated elements such as a new date of birth, and that he would be given assistance with relocation to a third country.

Mooney believes that the agreement between himself and An Garda Síochána on his exiting the witness security programme did not reflect what he was initially promised and that he is still in fear for his personal safety and that of his partner and child.

He wanted the case heard in open court so he could achieve “vindication” of his credibility. However the State had requested that the proceedings be heard in camera as a number of gardaí and other people in the programme would be called as witnesses. The Chief Sate Solicitor claimed identifying them would “render them targets for subversives and persons involved in organised crime”.

The judge, Justice Paul Gilligan, ruled that the case will be heard in camera on this basis and because hearing it in open court could damage the relationship Ireland has with other countries that relocate people in the programme, as this relationship will be the subject of evidence. However Justice Gilligan said his judgement in this case will be delivered in open court.

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