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Identity revealed Ringleader in kidnap and torture of Kevin Lunney named after court lifts ban

During his trial Harte was referred to as 'YZ'.

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Alan Harte   PIC: Collins Courts

Alan Harte PIC: Collins Courts

Alan Harte PIC: Collins Courts

The High Court has lifted an order preventing the naming of the ringleader in the kidnapping and serious injury of businessman Kevin Lunney.

The man is Alan Harte (40), who last month was sentenced to 30 years in prison by the non-jury Special Criminal Court (SCC) for committing serious harm on and falsely imprisoning the Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) director in 2019.

The order was lifted on Tuesday by Mr Justice Charles Meenan who dismissed an application by Harte's lawyers to further extend Harte's anonymity.

The DPP had argued Harte should be named.

Citing Article 34 of the Irish constitution, which states that justice must be administered in public the judge said he could see "no basis" for continuing the order.

The judge also said that legal safeguards remain available to Mr Harte regarding any prejudice he claims he will suffer due to any publicity arising from his trial and conviction by the SCC.

During his trial Harte was referred to as 'YZ'.

When handing down the sentence Mr Justice Tony Hunt at the SCC described Harte as the "ringleader" and the person who had inflicted most of the injuries on Mr Lunney.

Two other men involved in the businessman's kidnapping and assault, Alan O'Brien (40), of Shelmalier Road, and Darren Redmond (27), from Caledon Road, both East Wall, Dublin, were also given lengthy prison sentences by the SCC.

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Kevin Lunney was kidnapped and tortured

Kevin Lunney was kidnapped and tortured

Kevin Lunney was kidnapped and tortured

The anonymity order, which had initially been granted by the SCC, had been extended by the High Court in December.

The order had been put in place when Harte, with an address at Island Quay Apartments East Wall, was first before the courts in connection with the offences.

It was granted because he had been due to go on trial before the Central Criminal Court in relation to an unrelated charge of murder.

That trial collapsed and the charge against Harte was dismissed, after the DPP entered a nolle prosequi in the case.

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However, the order was continued, on a temporary basis after his conviction by SCC.

This was done to protect the man's rights to a fair trial as he has other unrelated criminal matters pending before the criminal courts.

Following his conviction, Harte's lawyers claimed that his naming by the media in reports could prejudice his rights to a fair trial before a judge and jury.

Arising out of those concerns Harte launched High Court judicial review proceedings against the DPP and the SCC seeking orders including a temporary order extending his anonymity.

The anonymity order was continued until Tuesday's sitting of the High Court.

On Tuesday Mr Harte's lawyers had asked the court to continue the order, arguing that there was a possibility that some of the criminal matters may be heard within the six month period.

He sought an extension until February when one of the cases against him was due to be mentioned before the courts.

Michael Hourigan Bl for Mr Harte said that there was a prospect that some of the criminal matters could be heard within the next six months.

It was argued that a fade factor of about six months, between the time a person is sentenced to when they go before a judge and jury in other courts, was required.

The application to further continue the order was opposed by the DPP, represented by Sean Guerin SC.

Counsel said that there was little or no chance of the pending matters being heard within the next six months.

There was therefore no reason why the man should not now be named counsel said.

What was a "spurious" "unfounded" and "artificial arrangement" should now be removed, he said.

Counsel said that the continuation of the order was being sought as part of an attempt by Mr Harte to continue to prevent his name from being published for quite some time.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Meenan said that it was part of the criminal process that those convicted of offences be named, bar in certain exceptional circumstances.

Mr Harte's case did not come under one of those exceptions, and the judge said that there was no reason to continue the order.

He said that Mr Harte could make any application he needs to the courts to have safeguards put in place to prevent him suffering any prejudice in any forthcoming trial.

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