Man facing trial over Kevin Lunney false imprisonment brings High Court challenge

Accused challenges jurisdiction of Special Criminal Court
Man facing trial over Kevin Lunney false imprisonment brings High Court challenge
Kevin Lunney, director of Quinn Industrial Holdings. A man charged with his assault and false imprisonment has challenged the Special Criminal Court's jurisdiction to hear his trial. Picture: PA

A man charged with the assault and false imprisonment of Quinn Industrial Holdings director Kevin Lunney has brought a High Court challenge against the Special Criminal Court's jurisdiction to hear his trial.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claims the DPP's decision that he should not be tried before a jury represents a significant curtailment of his constitutional rights.

The man is accused of falsely imprisoning and causing serious harm, contrary to sections 4 and 14 of the 1997 Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, to Mr Lunney at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan, on September 17, 2019.

The man, along with three co-accused, was sent forward for trial before the non-jury Special Criminal Court in March this year. The trial is due to commence early next year and is expected to last for several weeks.

Represented by Michael O'Higgins SC, with Michael Hourigan BL, instructed by John Quinn Solicitors, the man has brought judicial review proceedings before the High Court, challenging the decision that he should be tried before the non-jury court.

Mr O'Higgins said the man's trial will take place under what was described by the Supreme Court in a 1996 decision as "temporary emergency legislation" but has been in place for almost 50 years.

It was not appropriate that the man be tried under temporary legislation, counsel said.

He also seeks a declaration that the failure by the Oireachtas to enact anything other than temporary measures in respect of those being tried before special courts amounts to a breach of those persons' constitutional rights.

Mr Justice Tony O'Connor granted the man permission, on an ex-parte basis, to bring his challenge. The matter was made returnable to a date in September.

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