Court dismisses John Dundon appeal over Shane Geogheghan murder trial

Tuesday 25 June 2013 22.17
John Dundon's lawyers claimed they needed more time to review thousands of pages of documents
John Dundon's lawyers claimed they needed more time to review thousands of pages of documents

The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by Limerick man John Dundon aimed at delaying his trial for the murder of Shane Geoghegan almost five years ago.

Mr Geoghegan was the unintended victim of a shooting at Dooradoyle in November 2008.

Dundon, 29, from Hyde Road, Limerick, is due to stand trial at the Special Criminal Court.

His legal team claimed they needed more time to review thousands of pages of documents disclosed recently by the prosecution.

However, prosecuting counsel this afternoon undertook to identify relevant documents by next Thursday.

It emerged today that much of the 27,000 pages handed over to the defence were not relevant to the prosecution's case.

One Supreme Court judge said the position had "altered significantly" because the prosecution now confirmed much of the material was irrelevant and therefore should not need to be reviewed by the defence.

Prosecuting counsel Tom O'Connell told the court the case against  Dundon focused on four items of CCTV footage and one phone call.

He accepted that only about 1% of the documents handed over to the defence last May were relevant to the case.

Dundon had brought High Court proceedings over the Special Criminal Court's refusal to adjourn his case until next year.

But the High Court refused to allow him challenge the decision of the Special Criminal Court. He then appealed that decision to the Supreme Court.

He sought the adjournment because his lawyers claim they have not been given enough time to examine a large volume of material about the case, which was disclosed to them in recent weeks by the prosecution.

They say there is a risk of an unfair trial if they are not given more time to determine the relevance of the material.

This morning, his lawyers told the Supreme Court there was an inexplicable and possibly deliberate delay by the prosecution in disclosing evidence.

Key witness statements taken in October last year were not disclosed to the defence until May this year, the court was told.

Senior counsel Martin O'Rourke said the defence team would need at least three months to review the material. The case could be conducted in the autumn, he said.

He said additional evidence was still coming in and it was essential they had all of the evidence before the trial starts.

There were 419 discs of CCTV footage to be reviewed and a significant volume of telephone records, he said.

The State objected to the adjournment because of what it said are concerns over the security of a key prosecution witness in the case.

However, Mr O'Rourke said the Special Criminal Court had not established any evidence that adjourning the trial would increase any risk to the security of witnesses.

The court should have given priority to John Dundon's right to a fair trial over the right to life of a witness, he said.