Man suing State over witness protection 'failures'

Friday 26 April 2013 12.05
Lawyers for the State say there is no urgency to David Mooney's case
Lawyers for the State say there is no urgency to David Mooney's case

A man who was in a witness protection programme is suing the State over an alleged failure to give him a new identity and a new home.

David Mooney claims he now lives in fear for his life, cannot work and has been refused social welfare.

He claims he cannot use his PPS number after his involvement in a witness protection programme in 2002.

In High Court proceedings, Mr Mooney claims he was promised a new identity and a green card for the US, along with a house and a car as part of an agreement to enter into the witness protection programme.

The High Court heard he gave evidence for the State in a criminal trial in 2003.

He now claims the State is in breach of contract, was negligent and has deprived him of his Constitutional rights.

He claims he has not been given a house or car, has not received a new identity or PPS number and has not received a green card as allegedly promised.

His lawyers asked the High Court to hear the matter urgently as he has received threats to his life, cannot work and cannot use his PPS number and was suffering real hardship as a result.

Lawyers for the State have denied the claims and said there was no urgency to the case as he had exited the witness protection programme in 2006.

The court was told it would be a "highly contentious matter involving matters of State security and matters that are privileged".

In his claim against the Garda Commissioner and the State, he says he gave evidence against two men who were engaged in threats and intimidation while he tried to open a club in central Dublin in 2002.

Before giving evidence he claims to have signed a "protocol" document and was verbally promised by gardaí that he would receive a new house, car, income, name, date of birth, social insurance number and a green card for the US where he would be under the care of US marshals.

He claims he was also promised that authorities in the US would arrange with his Irish handler for safe travel to and from the US.

It is also alleged he was told he could not claim social welfare, but would be paid €130 to €140 per week while in the programme and that his accommodation would be paid for and he would receive 24-hour protection.

Because of these alleged assurances he agreed to give evidence and both men were convicted.

In 2004 he claims to have been asked to sign a non-binding memorandum which was a release from certain parts of the witness protection programme.

He claims to have been refused an opportunity to seek legal advice and was promised assistance with establishing a business and securing a green card.

He claims the gardaí and the State are guilty of breach of contract, negligence and breach of duty.

He also claims the State has breached his Constitutional right to bodily integrity and right to work.

He is seeking orders from the court to force the State to provide him with the benefits he claims to have been promised and is also seeking damages.

The case returns to court in June.