Court hears 'concerns' from Jim Mansfield Jr's defence over trial's 'readiness'

Court hears 'concerns' from Jim Mansfield Jr's defence over trial's 'readiness'
Jim Mansfield Jr. (52), of Tasaggart House, Garters Lane, Saggart, Co. Dublin, leaving the Special Criminal Court last year. Picture: Collins Courts

Lawyers for businessman Jim Mansfield Jnr, who is charged with conspiracy to commit false imprisonment, have said that they have "substantial concerns" about the "state of readiness" of his Special Criminal Court trial, which is due to begin in October.

Tony McGillicuddy BL, for Mr Mansfield Jnr, told the three-judge court that the case was in for mention today to allow both sides assess the position in relation to the disclosure of evidence. "There are substantial concerns on the defence's side about the trial," he submitted.

The non-jury court vacated Mr Mansfield’s Jnr trial date last April over concerns related to the availability of certain witnesses during the Covid-19 crisis. 

He was due to stand trial at the non-jury court on April 20 on charges relating to false imprisonment and the perversion of justice. However, it was pushed back a number of months to October 5 due to complications with certain witnesses arising out of the Covid-19 crisis.

The 52-year-old, of Tasaggart House, Garters Lane, Saggart, Co Dublin, is charged with conspiring with one or more persons to falsely imprison Martin Byrne on a date unknown between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2015, both dates inclusive.

He is also charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice by directing Patrick Byrne to destroy recorded CCTV footage, with the alleged intention of perverting the course of public justice in relation to the false imprisonment of Martin Byrne at Finnstown House Hotel, Newcastle Road, Lucan, Co Dublin between June 9, 2015 and June 12, 2015.

Mr Mansfield Jnr, who is currently on bail, was not present in court for this morning's brief hearing.

Mr McGillicuddy told the non-jury court that a detailed letter seeking disclosure was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on May 28 and he wanted to "mark the court's card". 

"From our point of view we don't have any material in relation to this and we don't know the state of readiness even for a trial date in October," he explained.

The barrister said he did not have to explain to the court why he was concerned and asked for his client's case to be mentioned on a date in September.

Shane Costelloe SC, for the DPP, said he had no difficulty in the matter being listed for September in order to comply with disclosure.

In reply, Mr McGillicuddy said there had been separate applications regarding the jurisdiction of the court and "unsatisfactory responses" had been received from the prosecution. 

"Responses are very slow in coming from the Director including on the disclosure side," he added.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Alexander Owens put the case in for mention on September 7. "The trial may start on October 5 or a few days after. No one will be taken short in relation to disclosure. 

In the meantime, we will be expecting everyone to work towards a trial whether on October 5 or 19," he said.

In December, Mr Mansfield Jnr was granted legal aid after the Special Criminal Court heard that he had had a €6 million judgment against him.

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