Belgium to assist in €10m-heroin import case

Counsel in the case of a Meath aviation broker accused of attempting to import heroin valued at €10m have agreed on a letter to be sent to Belgium authorities seeking information on his alleged co-conspirators.

Counsel in the case of a Meath aviation broker accused of attempting to import heroin valued at €10m have agreed on a letter to be sent to Belgium authorities seeking information on his alleged co-conspirators.

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.

It 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 in Kildare 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.

Judge Tony Hunt presented to counsel the letter he intends to send to Belgium prosecutors acting in the case of the men arrested there.

Mr Donal McGuinness BL, defending, and Mr Dominic McGinn BL, prosecuting, agreed on the wording of the request and Judge Hunt said he would send it via the Department of Justice.

Mr McGuinness had requested at an earlier hearing that Judge Hunt seek disclosure from the Belgian authorities concerning the men arrested there.

Judge Hunt also ruled on several disclosure matters in favour of the prosecution. He ruled that communication between gardai and the Director of Public Prosecutions regarding Mr Kinsella was not relevant to the case and therefore should not be disclosed to the defence.

Mr McGuinness also requested that 25 text messages sent and received by the accused and intercepted by gardai during the investigation should be made available to the defence.

Mr McGinn replied that the messages no longer exist and must have been deleted. Mr Kinsella is scheduled to stand trial in March next year.

The High Court had previously refused a request by Belgian authorities for the extradition of Mr Kinsella on the grounds that because he faces similar charges here he cannot be handed over to the Belgian courts. This is despite Mr Kinsella indicating he would not object to extradition.

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