Corruption trial involving former councillors collapses

Wednesday 24 July 2013 22.20
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The trial involved businessman Jim Kennedy
The trial involved businessman Jim Kennedy
The trial ended because of Frank Dunlop's medical condition
The trial ended because of Frank Dunlop's medical condition

The corruption trial involving businessman Jim Kennedy and three former councillors collapsed today because of a medical condition relating to chief State witness Frank Dunlop.

Mr Dunlop has testified in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Mr Kennedy gave him £25,000 cash in 1991 to pay bribes to get land in Carrickmines rezoned.

He said he paid a total of £19,000 to then Fine Gael councillor Liam Cosgrave and Don Lydon, Colm McGrath and Tony Fox, former Fianna Fáil councillors.

All men denied the charges of corruption and Mr Lydon was discharged on Monday after it was ruled that Mr Dunlop had made a prejudicial comment during cross-examination.

The trial was in its fourth week, but there had been concerns about Mr Dunlop's availability due to health issues as there was a deadline of 2 August for the trial to be completed.

Two of the jurors were unavailable after that date and their number had already been reduced to 11 after one was excused.

Today, Sean Gillan, SC for the State, told the court that the DPP was asking Judge Mary Ellen Ring to discharge the jury and have the case re-entered before a fresh jury in the autumn.

There were objections from defence counsel, particularly Michael O'Higgins, SC for Jim Kennedy, who said he had completed 95% of the defence's case.

He wanted to make an application to have the case against his client dismissed.

After another short adjournment, Mr Gillane came back and told the court that the state was now entering a nolle prosequi in respect of all five defendants, including Don Lydon.

Judge Ring then discharged the jury.

As they left the courthouse none of the five men had any comment to make.