Dismissed 'Fat' Andy Connors widow loses conviction challenge for possession of screwdriver and gloves
The Circuit Court rejected the appeal and she brought judicial review proceedings in the High Court
The widow of a murdered criminal has failed in a High Court challenge to her conviction for possession of house-breaking items.
Ann Connors (45), in whose arms "Fat" Andy Connors died in 2014 after he was shot five times at their home in Saggart, Co Dublin, failed in judicial review proceedings against the DPP for a conviction for possession of a 12-inch screwdriver and gloves in Leopardstown, Dublin, on April 14, 2016.
The District Court heard in April 2018 that an off-duty garda spotted Connors driving a car containing three passengers on the M50. The garda recognised one of the passengers as Andy Connors junior (23) for whom there was an outstanding arrest warrant.
The garda followed the car to Leopardstown Drive where it was parked and Andy junior and another male, both with faces covered, got out. Both were wearing gardening gloves and Andy jun was carrying a screwdriver.
They spotted the off-duty garda observing them and ran back to their car which drove off with Andy jun throwing a screwdriver out the window which was retrieved by the off-duty officer.
The garda had alerted an on-duty colleague who stopped the car. The off-duty garda arrested Ann Connors and she was put in the back of a patrol car in handcuffs. On the way to the garda station, she was noticed continuously fidgeting and moving forward in her seat.
The patrol car was searched at the station and a pair of black gloves was found in the rear passenger footwell.
The escorting garda accepted, in evidence to the District Court, she could not categorically say Connors' ten-year-old daughter, who had also been taken from the scene in the garda car, had not placed the gloves in the foot well and that she (Ann Connors) was handcuffed behind her back while sitting in vehicle.
When she was charged, it was those gloves, as well as the screwdriver which she was alleged to be unlawfully in possession of.
Connors claimed she had never seen the screwdriver or gloves before and that she was on her way to visit her ill sister-in-law in hospital. The District Court judge said she was telling "complete lies" and convicted her, putting the matter back for a probation report.
Connors appealed to the Circuit Court claiming the conviction should not stand as there was an ambiguity in the charge against her as to which pair of gloves was referred to (the one's in the patrol car or a pair also found in the car she was driving).
The Circuit Court rejected the appeal and she brought judicial review proceedings in the High Court which centred on the alleged ambiguity in relation to the gloves.
The DPP opposed the proceedings arguing there was a failure to point to any material or specific prejudice suffered by her in the conduct of her defence.
Dismissing her judicial review proceedings, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was satisfied the decision and verdict reached by the Circuit Court were open to it on the evidence provided.
The High Court will not interfere with that verdict, he said.
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