Man accused of Shane Geoghegan murder takes court action to delay trial

Tuesday 21 May 2013 23.37
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John Dundon says lawyers need more time to examine prosecution material
John Dundon says lawyers need more time to examine prosecution material
Shane Geoghegan was shot dead near his home in Limerick in November 2008
Shane Geoghegan was shot dead near his home in Limerick in November 2008

A Limerick man accused of the 2008 murder of Garryowen rugby player Shane Geoghegan in the city has brought a High Court action to delay the start of his trial.

John Dundon claims that he cannot get a fair trial unless his lawyers are given more time to go through the large volume of prosecution materials, including CCTV footage and documents. 

His legal team says up to 500 working days are needed and wants the trial postponed to 2014.

Mr Dundon, 29, of Hyde Road, Limerick, is due to stand trial on 4 June for the murder of Mr Geoghegan at Dooradoyle in November 2008.

The trial at the non-jury Special Criminal Court is expected to last up to four weeks.

Today at the High Court, Mr Justice Michael White heard that Mr Dundon's lawyers want it delayed until next year in the interests of a fair trial.

The State objected to any adjournment because of concerns over the security of the proposed chief prosecution witness in the case.

The Special Criminal Court ruled last week that the trial should start on 4 June.

In his High Court action, Mr Dundon is seeking that this ruling be quashed and that his trial be stayed. He is also seeking a temporary injunction preventing his trial from going ahead until his High Court action has been determined.

Mr Justice White directed that Mr Dundon's application for leave be heard in the presence of lawyers for the State. The matter was adjourned to Wednesday morning.

Martin O'Rourke SC for Mr Dundon said it would be impossible for his client's lawyers to go through all the material furnished by the state before 4 June. Should the trial proceed the defence team would be compromised, he added.

Over 26,000 pages of evidence, 1,226 disks of CCTV footage, two hard drives and a memory stick were disclosed to Mr Dundon's solicitors Madden & Finucane at the beginning of this month.

The solicitors estimate it would take a total of 500 working days to read through the disclosed material and view the CCTV footage.

Counsel said Mr Dundon's lawyers were not saying that all the material disclosed by the State was relevant to the trial. However, it was impossible to know at this point of time what was relevant and what was not.

Counsel argued that the Special Criminal Court had erred in its decision not to grant an adjournment. The decision amounted to a breach of his client's rights to fair procedures as well as his Constitutional rights and his rights under the European Convention of Human Rights.

Counsel added that the guidelines in respect of the discovery of material in advance of a trial had not been complied with, given that the material was only furnished to them weeks before the trial was due to begin.

Mr Dundon's application for permission to bring the challenge was made on an ex-parte (one side only present) basis.