Sentences totalling 19 years for three men guilty of taking part in Kinahan gang murder plot

Three men have received sentences totalling 19 years at the Special Criminal Court for taking part in a Kinahan cartel plan to kill a member of the Hutch family in Dublin's north inner city.
Sentences totalling 19 years for three men guilty of taking part in Kinahan gang murder plot
Michael Burns, 43, was jailed for nine years whilst Stephen Curtis, 32, and Ciaran O'Driscoll, 25, were both sentenced to five years in prison.
Michael Burns, 43, was jailed for nine years whilst Stephen Curtis, 32, and Ciaran O'Driscoll, 25, were both sentenced to five years in prison.

Three men have received sentences totalling 19 years at the Special Criminal Court for taking part in a Kinahan cartel plan to kill a member of the Hutch family in Dublin's north inner city.

Michael Burns, 43, was jailed for nine years whilst Stephen Curtis, 32, and Ciaran O'Driscoll, 25, were both sentenced to five years in prison.

The three-judge court was previously told that large sums of money were made available to murder people and those involved in the Kinahan cartel were paid €20,000 for "setting people up for a hit".

The non-jury court has also heard that audio surveillance of a conversation between a woman and one of the suspects involved in a plot to murder Patrick "Patsy" Hutch picked up references to "they have so much money, they could buy half the Hutch lads" and "they're getting €20,000 and all for setting somebody up, used to get that for doing the hit".

Sentencing Burns today, presiding judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt said the evidence was unequivocal in that he had assisted in the preparation of the very grave crime of murder and there was no doubt that this assistance was of considerable help to the Kinahan criminal organisation.

Burns' conduct in the facilitation was intentional as opposed to reckless and he had supervised those below him in a deliberate and calculating manner, he said.

He was sentenced to nine years and nine months in prison with the final nine months suspended.

The court had heard that Burns was a supervisor who organised logistics including cars and phones, as well as passing on the instructions for the plot to kill Mr Hutch.

Passing sentence on Curtis, Mr Justice Hunt said the court accepted that he belonged in a different category to Burns and his assistance was limited but nonetheless it was valuable at the last stage in the plot.

He was sentenced to six years in prison with the final year suspended.

Curtis was involved in sub-cell meetings and buying phones and SIM cards.

He was recorded expressing reservations about Suspect Number 1, the man in charge of the attempted murder, and said he wanted to get out of the gang.

Sentencing O'Driscoll, the judge said he had agreed to perform the limited but vital function of "looker", which would alert the "hit-team" when Mr Hutch left his house, who were to shoot him.

He must have known Mr Hutch was leaving his house to face death and his part proved instrumental, said the judge.

He was useful to the Kinahan cartel as his presence on Champions Avenue would not have been out of place in the ordinary way due to his grandmother living there, he said.

He was sentenced to six years in prison with the final year suspended.

During last month's sentence hearing for the three men, evidence was given that gardaí recovered a written record of the financial expenditure of the Kinahan gang sub-cell from a suspect's address.

This breakdown of the expenses and payments of the operation to murder Mr Hutch - the older brother of the leader of the rival Hutch organised crime group - detailed a "starting balance" of €7,000 and recorded how "logistical costs" came to in excess of €10,000.

Michael Burns, of no fixed abode, Ciaran O'Driscoll of Avondale House, Cumberland Street, Dublin 1 and Stephen Curtis of Bellman's Walk, Seville Place, Dublin 1 have admitted to having knowledge of the existence of a criminal organisation and participating in activities intended to facilitate the commission of a serious offence by that criminal organisation, or any of its members, namely the murder of Mr Hutch within the State between February 1 and March 10, 2018, both dates inclusive.

Burns has pleaded guilty to passing instructions to one or more members of a criminal organisation and of acting as a conduit for communications by providing phones.

He has also admitted transporting one or more members of a criminal organisation, moving one or more vehicles for subsequent use by one or more members of a criminal organisation and planning or assisting in planning the intended shooting of Mr Hutch.

O'Driscoll has pleaded guilty to agreeing to act as a look-out and to helping plan the intended shooting.

Curtis has admitted providing, or assisting in providing, one or more mobile phones for use by the criminal organisation and purchasing or assisting in the purchase of one or more mobile phones, sim cards and credit top-ups.

The activities also include passing on the phone number of the "looker" (or look-out) - O'Driscoll - to a member of the criminal organisation and planning or assisting in planning the intended shooting of Mr Hutch.

In a related sentence hearing last month, Mr Justice Hunt said the court accepted garda evidence that the Kinahan organised crime gang is involved in "execution-type murders" to protect its core activities, which include organised drugs and firearms offences on "an international scale".

The court further accepted that the crime gang operated "an organised hierarchical structure" with "cells and subcells" to "segregate activities and limit knowledge" among gang members.

The gang also operated on directions from superiors within this hierarchy.

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