Lawyers for the getaway driver in the murder of innocent businessman Roy Collins in 2009 have failed in their preliminary attempt to get further access to taped telephone calls prior to the full hearing of their client's appeal against conviction.
The Special Criminal Court found that Wayne Dundon (aged 37), of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect ordered the murder of Mr Collins from prison and Nathan Killeen (aged 26) of Hyde Road, Prospect, was the getaway driver for the gunman.
Dundon and Killeen had both pleaded not guilty to murdering the 35-year-old father of two, who was engaged to be married.
He was shot in the chest while running Coin Castle Amusements at Roxboro Road Shopping Centre on April 9, 2009.
Mr Collins’ father, Steve Collins, was believed to be the intended target of the murder, due to his involvement in a previous successful prosecution against Dundon for a threat to kill.
Following a 29-day trial at the Special Criminal Court, the three-judge court found Dundon and Killeen guilty of the murder and they were both sentenced to life imprisonment on July 15, 2014.
In a preliminary motion before the Court of Appeal today, Mr Justice George Birmingham refused to order further disclosure of telephone calls to and from prosecution witnesses while they were in prison in a three-and-a-half year period prior to the commencement of the trial.
He said the question of disclosure and whether or not there were any inadequacies in the process would be an issue in the full appeal hearing.
Counsel for Killeen, Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, said the Special Criminal Court had ordered limited disclosure of calls - relevant to specific events - and the recorded calls contained “explosive material”.
Mr Ó Lideadha said the telephone recordings undermined the credibility of the prosecution witnesses and showed, he alleged, that the witnesses were “colluding to produce” the result of life imprisonment.
As a consequence of the disclosure and cross examination arising from the disclosure, the Special Criminal Court ruled that certain witnesses could not be relied upon.
It ruled that Gareth Collins had “zero credibility” and could not be relied upon “at all”, counsel said.
There was a high possibility that further material would arise from these conversations which the court “might find shocking”, Mr Ó Lideadha said.
If it could be proven that the order declining further disclosure had a particular consequence, it could lead to the quashing of his client's conviction, Mr Ó Lideadha said.
Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Michael O'Higgins SC, said the defence were asking the court to make available material which the trial court said was not necessary.
Mr O'Higgins said Roy Collins was shot dead on April 9, 2009 and the case against Killeen was “comprehensive”.
His movements prior to the murder were consistent with involvement and CCTV evidence showed him at relevant locations. When the gardaí learned of the shooting, Mr O'Higgins said certain units were dispatched to the Collins' house where Killeen was “happened upon” by the gardaí.
Killeen fled, the gardaí surrounded a number of houses, obtained search warrants and found him hiding under a bed, Mr O'Higgins said.
The telephone evidence was a “rich source” of potential material for the defence, Mr O'Higgins said.
They made a blanket application, which was refused, so they sought recordings from specified dates.
Refusing the motion, Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice John Edwards, said it would not be an appropriate course of action to make the order sought at this stage.
He said the question of disclosure and whether or not there were any inadequacies in the process would be an issue in the substantive appeal.