THE TRIAL of two Limerick men accused of threatening to kill several members of the one family between 2010 and 2011, has been adjourned at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin, pending the release of telephone audio files from four Irish prisons including Limerick’s Mulgrave Street Prison.
The governors of four Irish prisons; Wheatfield, Portlaoise, Cloverhill and Limerick, havel been ordered by the three judge court to release the audio files of approved telephone conversations between a brother of the accused Dundon brothers, and one of the alleged injured parties, April Collins, the 23-year-old mother of three with former partner, Gerard Dundon.
30-year-old John Dundon and his brother, Wayne, (33), on trial on threats to kill and the intimidation of State witnesses in a separate court case, sat in the dock as legal argument over the disclosure of evidence was heard by the defence and prosecution senior counsels.
Wayne Dundon, pleaded not guilty to seven counts of threatening to kill April Collins, brothers Jimmy and Gareth Collins and their mother Alice Collins, on two separate dates in September 30, 2010 and March 25, 2011.
John Dundon, pleaded not guilty to threatening to kill April Collins on April 3, 2010, and threatening to kill her mother one year later, at Hyde Road in Limerick city.
Dressed in a black satin short sleeved shirt, Wayne Dundon stood for arraignment when the charges were put to him and entered a not guilty plea to each of the seven counts before the court.
His brother John, dressed in a short sleeved white and blue stripped shirt, entered pleas of not guilty to the charges of threatening to kill Ms Collins and her mother.
The two brothers were returned for trial to the sitting of the special criminal court in the first non paramilitary type case of its kind in the country, but just as the case opened, defence senior counsel Padraig O’Dwyer, told the three judges, Justice Paul Butler, Justice Alison Lyndsay and Justice Flannan Brennan, that he still had an issue with disclosure of evidence from the State, and sought that the matter be put back until they were furnished with all the materials.
He also added that “a box of materials including DVDs, tapes and documents,” were delivered to the office of defence solicitors Madden and Finucane, “just days” before the trial was due to begin.
However, Tom O’Connell SC said that this was just “another red herring” thrown in by the defence of the Dundon brothers to delay proceedings.
Mr O’Dwyer, having been earlier told at a court sitting, to itemise and be specific in his requests of disclosure, sought that the audio files containing telephone conversations between April Collins and Gerard Dundon over a period from October 2010 to April 2011, be released by the governors of four prisons.
Defence counsel, Mr Padraig O’Dwyer, and counsel for the co-accused, Brian McCartney, alleged, that up to 100 of these six minute telephone conversations contained evidence that April Collins told Gerard Dundon she was “going to set up Wayne”.
The court heard that the telephone calls referred to were approved by the governors of each of the prisons with the view to “keeping the peace” amongst the prisoners,”according to Tom O’Connell SC for the State.
With up two dozen gardai from the Limerick division and a small number of the Dundon family and supporters, April Collins was brought to the court under the protection of three armed detectives from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Mr Justice Paul Butler addressed the court after a brief adjournment and gave both parties 24-hours to electronically distribute and review the 100 or more audio files through the DPP, adding that the court was “not happy” with the manner in which the case was proceeding.
“It’s most unsatisfactory, can counsel not talk to each other, ye have had months to prepare for this case”.
The trial is expected to last at least a week.
Prior to Tuesday’s legal arguments and proceedings, the State and detective garda Christine Bergin added a new charge to the list of indictments against Wayne Dundon, The 33-year-old was also charged with threatening to kill Elaine Walsh, the former girlfriend of Garreth Collins on March 25, 2011 at Hyde Road. The charge was brought before the Special Criminal Court as the DPP directed that the lower courts were not suitable to deal with the case. The new matter was remanded until next week with the defence given liberty to make applications.