A Dublin man charged with the murder of veteran criminal Eamon Kelly can appear at his next court hearing via video link, the Special Criminal Court has ruled.
Last December Sean Connolly (aged 34), of Bernard Curtis House, Bluebell, Dublin 12, appeared before a special sitting of the Special Criminal Court charged with murdering Mr Kelly at Furry Park Road, Killester on Dublin’s north-side, on December 4, 2012.
Mr Connolly was also charged with IRA membership on the same date and with possession of a firearm on the same occasion.
The State had sought to have the next hearing of the case, when it is anticipated Mr Connolly will be served with a book of evidence, conducted via video link from Portlaoise Prison.
Mr Michael Bowman BL, for the State, said it was envisaged that the utilisation of video link facilities would negate the need to bring a prisoner to court in convoy.
He said there were two soundproofed rooms available in Portlaoise prison, while a room at the back of the court room facilitated private consultation by means of a secure, unrecorded telephone line to the jail.
Counsel for the applicant, Ms Siobhan Ni Chulachain BL, had objected to the hearing as her instructing solicitor Mr Michael Finucane had raised concerns over the security of any consultation with his client held during a video link hearing.
Presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler said the court could only make a ruling on this particular case, but had regard to evidence that there were sound insulated consultation rooms available on the A Block in Portlaoise Prison.
The court had heard evidence from Portlaoise Prison deputy governor Martin Murphy that the ceilings of the rooms had been lowered considerably, that they had been fitted out with polycarbonate and Perspex, and that thick lino had been laid on the floor to dampen sound.
Mr Justice Butler said that with regard to the applicant’s case, the court would order that any consultation take place on A Block.
He said the court would accede to the application for a video-link hearing.