The trial of four men accused of kidnapping a Securicor worker and his family and robbing €2.28m has heard that two of the accused were “lifelong friends” and members of a horse-owning syndicate.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Jason Kavanagh (aged 39) and Mark Farrelly (aged 42) had signed up to the syndicate called “Seeking the Gold” in April 2004.
Mr Kavanagh, of Corduff Avenue in Blanchardstown and Mr Farrelly of Moatview Court, Priorswood, Coolock together with Christopher Corcoran (aged 66) of Bayside Boulevard North, Sutton and Alan Costello (aged 50) of Cromcastle Road, Coolock have pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to five charges each.
All four are accused of falsely imprisoning Paul Richardson at Ashcroft, Raheny, Dublin on the night of March 13 and 14, 2005 and of falsely imprisoning Marie, Ian and Kevin Richardson on the same dates.
They are also charged with robbery of €2.28m in cash from Paul Richardson and Securicor Security Services Ireland Ltd.
Padraig Dwyer SC, defending, said Mr Kavanagh and Mr Farrelly were one of 10 or so shareholders in the syndicate which owned a single racehorse, Magical Wit.
The two accused, along with Mr Farrelly's brother Luke, joined the group when three of the original shareholders sold their shares.
Each shareholder in the syndicate paid €1,000 each plus regular race fees.
The court heard evidence from a number of the shareholders, including one who remembered a meeting at the Clonsealy Inn in Swords in August 2005.
Some of the shareholders got together to ask Mr Kavanagh to either leave the syndicate or look for money, as the group had fallen into arrears. Magical Wit had two wins while it was owned by the syndicate.
The court also heard evidence of Mr Kavanagh's birthday celebrations in the Arlington Hotel in Dublin on April 5, 2005, a few weeks after the kidnap.
Detective Sergeant Peter Oates told Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, that he observed Mr Kavanagh drinking with a group of men in the hotel.
He said a cake with candles on it was placed in front of Mr Kavanagh and that Niall Byrne and Gerard Grant were among the group.
Earlier, the jury was told that Niall Byrne, Gerard Grant and David Byrne were members of the kidnap gang but were not on trial at this time.
The court heard that Jason Kavanagh is married to Niall Byrne's cousin and that the two men are lifelong friends.
Counsel for Mr Kavanagh said he has also socialised with both Mr Grant and Alan Costello.
The jury heard that Niall Byrne had bought a second-hand BMW in April 2005 from a man called Seamus Brennan. Mr Brennan said he advertised the BMW in Buy and Sell and agreed to sell it for €12,500.
He said Mr Byrne paid him €10,000 in cash made up of used €50 notes in a white plastic bag. Mr Brennan said the remaining €2,500 was never paid over, despite several attempts to reclaim the money.
He said he had not been aware that Mr Byrne worked for Securicor.
The trial continues tomorrow before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury of eight men and three women. One juror has been discharged.