Dundons have death threat convictions affirmed by Court of Appeal
Notorious criminal brothers Wayne and John Dundon have had appeals against their convictions for making threats to kill, dismissed by the Court of Appeal.
Wayne Dundon (37) of Lenihan Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, was found guilty by the Special Criminal Court in 2012 of threatening Alice Collins that he would kill or cause serious harm to her sons Gareth Collins and Jimmy Collins at Hyde Avenue, Limerick on September 30 2010.
The non-jury court also found him guilty of the intimidation of potential prosecution witnesses Alice and April Collins with the intention of obstructing the course of justice on the same occasion.
Wayne's younger brother John (33), with an address at Hyde Road, Limerick had also been found guilty of threatening to kill April Collins at Hyde Road on the weekend of April 3rd and 4th 2011.
Following their convictions, the three-judge Special Criminal Court sentenced Wayne to six years imprisonment and younger brother John to five-and-a-half years imprisonment on April 18, 2012.
In a judgment delivered today the Court of Appeal dismissed the brothers' appeals on all grounds and affirmed their convictions.
Giving judgment, Mr Justice George Birmingham said the Court of Appeal had been forced to conclude that it was being asked by Wayne Dundon's lawyers to substitute a view on the facts for the view formed by the trial judges who had heard the evidence. The Court of Appeal was “not prepared to do that,” he said.
There was evidence, which if accepted by the Special Criminal Court, could support Wayne Dundon's conviction, Mr Justice Birmingham said.
It was for the court of trial to decide whether it was satisfied in relation to that evidence and in a situation where the Court was so satisfied, the Court of Appeal was not in a position to intervene, he said.
Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr Justice John Edwards, commented that Wayne Dundon's lawyers were operating on the basis that an appelant can “dip in and out of the transcripts of a trial held on another occasion at will”. The Court of Appeal “depracates any such suggestion”, he said.
Giving background, Mr Justice Birmingham said the background to the trial was to be found in tensions between members of the Dundon and Collins families.
The injured party in respect of John Dundon was April Collins who had been in a relationship with Ger Dundon since she was about fifteen and together they had three children.
In April 2010, April Collins ended her relationship with Ger Dundon. Tensions and difficulties followed focused on whether or how often she would bring her children to vist their father, Ger, while he was in prison.
April Collins gave evidence that on April 3, 2011, John Dundon banged on her door and said “I know you are in there you tramp. I want to see my nephews. When I get you I am going to kill you”.
Lawyers for John Dundon sought a directed acquittal on the basis that the case depended on visual identification and there were many factors present which rendered identification particularly unreliable. These arguments were repeated in John Dundon's appeal by his barrister, Brian McCartney SC.
However, Mr Justice Birmingham said the court could not close its eyes to the fact that experienced trial judges had heard all these points, had seen the cross examination of April Collins and were fully aware of the identification issues which arose.
It was a finding of fact the trial court were entitled to make. Accordingly this ground failed.
Turning to other grounds, Mr Justice Birmingham said restrictions imposed on the use of telephone transcripts was entirely justified and this ground “must fail”.
Counsel for Wayne Dundon, Michael Bowman SC, had argued that during the successful prosecution trial of Wayne Dundon and Nathan Killeen for the murder of Roy Collins, CCTV footage covering 31 Hyde Avenue in 2009 was disclosed and therefore footage must have existed for the relevant period in 2010.
However, there was no evidence that functioning CCTV cameras covered 31 Hyde Avenue on the relevant date, Mr Justice Birmingham said.
Mr Bowman also sought to utilise certain material gleamed from prisoner phone transcripts disclosed in the subsequent murder trial but this ground was also dismissed.
Finally, Mr Bowman had sought to argue that his client's conviction was unsafe because the evidence of April Collins was not relied upon by the Special Criminal Court in Wayne Dundon's trial for murder.
However, that was less than a completely clear picture, Mr Justice Birmingham said. The Special Criminal Court had taken the view that Wayne Dundon's prosecution was not advanced by April Collins' evidence but the three-judge court "did not reject her evidence”, Mr Justice Birmingham said.
The Dundons made no reaction when the judgment was delivered. They were lead away to continue serving their prison sentences.
Wayne Dundon is also currently serving a life sentence for the revenge murder of innocent businessman Roy Collins in Limerick, on April 9, 2009.
He had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Collins along with his co-accused Nathan Killeen (25), of Hyde Road, Prospect, Limerick but the non-jury Special Criminal Court found them both guilty and gave them mandatory terms of life imprisonment.
Mr Collins' father, Steve Collins, was believed to have been the intended target due to his involvement in a previous successful prosecution against Wayne Dundon.