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trial evidence Kevin Lunney kidnapping accused complained to gardai about officers 'unfairly' stopping his son, court hears

YZ (40) is one of four men on trial at the non-jury, three-judge court charged over Mr Lunney’s abduction and torture.

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Kevin Lunney

Kevin Lunney

Kevin Lunney

ONE of the men accused of kidnapping Kevin Lunney had asked gardai months earlier to leave his own family alone because his son was being "unfairly" stopped by them.

The man known as YZ, who cannot be identified, went to a garda station to complain about officers regularly stopping his son, the Special Criminal Court heard.

At the time, he gave gardai a phone number that is now being used in evidence against him.

YZ (40) is one of four men on trial at the non-jury, three-judge court charged over Mr Lunney’s abduction and torture in 2019.

The Quinn Industrial Holdings director (52) was bundled into a car outside his Co Fermanagh home and taken to a container where his captors broke his leg with a wooden bat, slashed his face with a stanley knife and doused his wounds in bleach while ordering him to resign from the company.

They carved “QIH” into his chest with the knife and told him it was so he would “remember” before dumping him, stripped to his boxer shorts, on a roadside in Drumcoghill, Co Cavan, the court has heard.

Darren Redmond (27), of Caledon Road, Alan O’Brien (40) of Shelmalier Road, both in East Wall, Dublin, and a man “YZ” (40), who cannot legally be named, are all alleged to have been directly involved in the attack.

Luke O’Reilly (67), from Mullahoran Lower, Kilcogy, Co Cavan is accused of providing “material assistance in the planning and execution of the offences" and owned the land where Mr Lunney was allegedly held.

They all face the same charges of false imprisonment and causing serious harm to Mr Lunney at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan, on September 17th, 2019, which they deny.

Today, Sergeant Fergal McDonagh said on May 6, 2019, YZ called into Store Street garda station and asked to speak to the member in charge.

The sergeant went out and spoke to him. YZ had a “concern” in relation to a family member - he told the sergeant his son was being stopped regularly by the gardai.

Prosecutor Sean Guerin, leading the sergeant through his evidence, said YZ had told him he had another son who had died recently and “he was effectively asking the gardai to leave his family alone.”

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“That is what he asked for, yes,” the sergeant told the court.

Sgt McDonagh said he would speak to the gardai who were working in the area and would contact him later.

YZ gave him a phone number ending in -717, which the prosecution now attributes to YZ in its case against him.

The sergeant called the number later that day; YZ answered and they spoke.

He told YZ the gardai would continue to do their job in the area “but would in no way harass his family” and the accused was satisfied with the answer.

YZ’s barrister Michael O’Higgins asked the sergeant if this was official business and his client had been making a formal complaint.

“Not necessarily, he just wanted to talk to somebody who would talk to the gardai concerned,” Sgt McDonagh said.

“It was handled successfully; you had a word in the garda’s ear and from all perspectives that was a resolution of the matter,” Mr O’Higgins said.

Sgt McDonagh agreed.

The court heard continued evidence from Detective Garda Alan Jones as CCTV footage was played.

This included a video of a man in the public office of Store Street garda station just before 3pm on September 16, 2019 - the day before the abduction. Mr Guerin said there would be evidence later to identify this man as YZ.

In further CCTV footage from that day, two men walk into a car park at a north inner city apartment block after 3.12pm, and minutes later at 3.15pm, a silver van with a “distinctive red lightning bolt” on the side leaves the car park.

A “light coloured van” missing a hubcap is seen passing the Lakeside Manor Hotel in Virginia, Co Cavan at 4.12pm.

Further footage shows "a similar-looking van's" journey through Cavan and to Derrylin in Co Fermanagh and back that day, the court heard.

A silver Renault van with a red lightning bolt and missing hubcap is seen pulling into Applegreen, Rahardrum, Co Cavan at 11.06pm.

The passenger, in black sports clothing goes into the shop while the other fuels the van. They get back in the van and it drives off “towards Dublin,” Det Gda Jones said.

The defence is challenging the admissibility of the CCTV evidence.

At the outset of the trial, Mr Guerin said the state had “good quality CCTV footage” allegedly connecting YZ, Mr O’Brien and Mr Redmond to a journey made by a silver Renault Kangoo van from Dublin to Cavan on the day Mr Lunney was kidnapped.

he prosecution would say CCTV footage from an apartment complex in north inner city Dublin showed him meeting Alan O’Brien the day before, September 16.

A silver Kangoo with red lightning bolts was seen leaving and the prosecution would say YZ was in it and made the journey to Cavan on both days with Mr O’Brien, while Mr Redmond also travelled with them on September 17.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Tony Hunt, Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge David McHugh.

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