Judge appeals to Belgium in air-strip drug case

Judge Tony Hunt is to write to Belgium authorities requesting information concerning an attempt to import €10m worth of heroin into Weston Airport in Kildare.

Judge Tony Hunt is to write to Belgium authorities requesting information concerning an attempt to import €10m worth of heroin into Weston Airport in Kildare.

John Kinsella (aged 38), an aviation broker from Carenwood, Johnstown, Navan is awaiting trail at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after pleading not guilty to conspiracy to import 50kg of the drug.

The heroin was found in the luggage of a passenger who tried to board an Irish private jet at an airport in southern Belgium on September 26, 2006.

The jet had flown to Wevelgem, Belgium from Weston Airport and was due to return that day. Four others, including the two pilots, were arrested in Belgium and Holland. One of the pilots was later released.

Mr Kinsella's defence counsel, Mr Donal McGuinness BL, requested that Judge Hunt write to the Belgian prosecutor acting in the cases of the other accused, requesting the disclosure of the evidence against them.

Mr McGuinness is also seeking disclosure of communications between Gardaí and the Director of Public Prosecutions concerning Mr Kinsella's case.

Prosecution counsel, Mr Dominic McGinn BL objected to the application, citing the communication as privileged.

Judge Hunt agreed to write to the Belgian prosecutor and said he would make a decision on the other disclosure matters next week. Mr Kinsella's trial is scheduled to start in March 2009.

The High Court had previously refused a request by Belgian authorities for the extradition of Mr Kinsella despite his indication that he would not object to extradition.

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