DPP worker faces trial accused of leaking sensitive information about Butterly murder trial

Jonathan Lennon, aged 35, from Clonee, Dublin 15 was charged with breaking the Official Secrets Act in relation to criminal proceedings resulting from the murder of Peter Butterly.

DPP worker faces trial accused of leaking sensitive information about Butterly murder trial

An employee of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will go on trial in May accused of leaking confidential and sensitive information in connection with a murder trial.

Jonathan Lennon, aged 35, from Clonee, Dublin 15 was charged with breaking the Official Secrets Act in relation to criminal proceedings resulting from the murder of Peter Butterly.

Dissident republican Butterly was shot dead in view of students waiting for their school bus on the afternoon of March 6, 2013 outside The Huntsman Inn, Gormanston, Co Meath.

Mr Lennon faced his fourth hearing at Blanchardstown District Court today.

Judge Gerard Jones previously ruled that “very sensitive” prosecution evidence must not be given directly to the accused and he can only look at it in his lawyer's office.

An order for disclosure of prosecution evidence had been made earlier stage.

The father-of-three is accused of four offences contrary to Section Four and 13 of the Official Secrets Act 1963, as amended by Section 48 of the Freedom of Information Act 1997.

It is alleged that on September 7, 2017 and the following day, at a place unknown in Dublin, without authorisation, he communicated with another person official information within the possession, custody or control of the DPP, a holder of public office, relating to the prosecution of individuals arising from the murder of Peter Butterly on March 6, 2013.

When the case resumed today, Judge Jones noted from the prosecution that the trial would take two or three days and there was CCTV evidence.

He ordered that the case would be heard at the Criminal Courts of Justice building in the city centre.

USB stick

Defence counsel Padraig Langsch asked the judge not to set the trial date yet. He said the defence received additional disclosure last week which contained more than 380 pages.

It was also indicated to the defence that there was some 12,000 pages of additional evidence to be served by the DPP on a USB memory stick.

A State solicitor said that it was alleged the accused provided confidential information. The USB memory stick, containing 12,000 pages, also had extracts from the accused’s texts, he added.

The USB stick will be handed over to Mr Lennon’s lawyers within the next two days, the State solicitor confirmed.

Judge Jones held that this gave the defence plenty of time and he refused their application to delay fixing the trial date.

Three days in May were set aside to hear the case.

Mr Lennon was present for the hearing but did not address the court.

The court has heard senior counsel are to be retained by both sides.

Earlier, his solicitor Anne FitzGibbon had said she has received CCTV footage, memos of interviews and telephone records.

The court has heard the case involved alleged communications over two days.

At Mr Lennon’s previous hearing he had been granted legal aid after the court heard he worked for the DPP but has been suspended from his job and was getting €400 a week.

He had a family and a mortgage, the solicitor submitted.

In July 2018, at the Special Criminal Court, Dean Evans, 27, of Grange Park Rise, Raheny, Dublin, was given a mandatory life sentence for the murder of 35-year-old father of three Peter Butterly who was from Dunleer, Co Louth.

Peter Butterly
Peter Butterly

Evans was extradited from Spain earlier this year after he spent 18 months on the run.

Two other men are already serving life sentences for the murder, after being found guilty in March last year. Edward McGrath, 35, of Land Dale Lawns, Springfield, Tallaght and Sharif Kelly, 47, of Pinewood Green Road, Balbriggan had both denied the murder.

In November, Michael McDermott (59), of Riverdale House, Garrymore, Ballinagh, Co Cavan admitted to knowingly rendering assistance to an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, directly or indirectly, in the performance or furtherance of an unlawful object, to wit, the murder of Peter Butterly, at diverse locations within the State, between March 3 and March 6, 2013. He is to be sentenced later this month.

Another man accused of the murder has pleaded not guilty in the non-jury Special Criminal Court.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.