The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has dropped all charges against a man accused of taking part in the “tiger kidnap” of a family in 2011.
Jonathan Gill (37) was accused of kidnapping a Drogheda postal worker, his partner and their 10-week-old baby daughter before robbing €660,000 from the man's workplace. He denied all the charges.
A previous six-week trial in relation to the charges collapsed in 2017 amid concerns some jurors were getting information from outside the trial.
At Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today, Vincent Heneghan SC, for the DPP, told Judge Karen O'Connor that the State was entering a nolle prosequi in three charges of false imprisonment and one of robbery.
This means the DPP is formally dropping the prosecution of these charges. No reason was given in court for the decision.
On May 30 last year, when the retrial had been originally scheduled to begin, Mr Heneghan told the court that the prosecution were missing a vital witness.
He said the witness was in Australia and the prosecution had contacted Australian authorities but had not heard back. He said the witness was vital for the State's alleged ability to identify the accused.
The trial date was adjourned and set down for today.
Mr Gill of Malahide Road, Swords, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to falsely imprisoning Warren Nawn, Jean Marie Nawn and their ten-week-old baby in Drogheda between August 1 and August 2, 2011.
It was the State's case that Mr Gill was one of a group of five who were involved in holding the family hostage in their own home before moving them to a shed about a 90-minute drive away.
During the first trial in April 2017, on the fifth day of deliberations, the jury foreman handed a note to Judge Elma Sheahan stating that he suspected that “people are getting information from people outside the jury” and are “using that information to make their decision.”.
Dean Kelly BL, defending, submitted to the court that his client's entitlement to a fair trial had been compromised and that situation could not be remedied.
The case had been transferred from Louth Circuit Criminal Court. Mr Gill was on bail throughout and earlier this year his bail was varied and his passport returned to him so that he could travel to Spain.
In May 2017 Mark McCarthy (32), of Elm Dale Crescent, Ballyfermot was jailed for nine years after pleading to the kidnapping. He later had his nine-year prison sentence increased to 15 years following an appeal by prosecutors.
The court heard that during the kidnapping, the raiders told Mr Nawn that his wife would be killed if he did not comply. He said it was hard to hear what the men were telling him as his eyes, mouth and ears were covered with duct tape.
One of the men told Mr Nawn: “There's a mad bastard on the way and he'll have no problem raping your wife.”
Mrs Nawn was told to “shut the baby up” when it cried and was told by one raider that if her husband did not comply they would have to “try for another baby”.
Ms Nawn was cable-tied to a bed with her baby. She managed to free herself after the raiders left and was found in a very distressed state. Her 10-week old baby, who had not been fed for 19 hours, was highly dehydrated.