One of the four men accused of abducting and assaulting Kevin Lunney replied "no comment" when asked by gardai to account for being captured by CCTV driving a van in which blood matching that of the Quinn Industrial Holdings director was later found.
The question was put to the man in interviews where a court can draw inferences from an accused person's failure or refusal to answer relevant questions, the Special Criminal Court has heard.
The man also denied to gardai that he was the one who cut the businessman with a Stanley knife and broke his leg with two blows of a wooden bat, the non-jury court has heard.
The accused man known as YZ, because he can't be named for legal reasons, denied any involvement in the abduction and told gardai he was not the person who told Mr Lunney to resign from his position as a director of Quinn Industrial Holdings.
Detective Sergeant Peter Woods put it to him that the strands of circumstantial evidence gathered by gardai were enough to prove that he was the person who broke Mr Lunney's leg with a bat in a horse box at a yard in Drumbrade, Co Cavan.
YZ replied: "No. I told you it wasn't me, I didn't do it."
YZ also told gardai that he travelled to Cavan in September 2017 by bus and replied, "no comment" when asked to account for his being seen on CCTV driving a Renault Kangoo van the day before Mr Lunney was abducted. He said he couldn't account for the blood matching Mr Lunney's DNA being found inside the Renault Kangoo.
YZ (40), Alan O’Brien (40), of Shelmalier Road, East Wall, Dublin 3, Darren Redmond (27), from Caledon Road, East Wall, Dublin 3 and Luke O’Reilly (67), with an address at Mullahoran Lower, Kilcogy, Co Cavan have all pleaded not guilty to false imprisonment and intentionally causing serious harm to Mr Lunney at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan on September 17, 2019.
Detective Garda Peter Woods told prosecution counsel Garret Baker BL that YZ was arrested on 21 November 2019 and questioned over several days by gardai on suspicion of involvement in Mr Lunney's abduction. Two days into the detention, Det Sgt Woods said he told YZ that Mr Lunney had described the person who cut him and broke is leg as "the older guy". He said: "I believe the older guy is you."
YZ replied: "I deny it's me. It wasn't me."
The detective asked what it felt like to "do that to someone." YZ said: "I didn't do anything." When asked about phone contact he had with Cyrlil McGuinness, who the prosecution alleges organised the abduction and is now deceased, YZ said: "I'm not accepting or denying anything in relation to this element. Overall I'm denying involvement in the abduction."
Gardai also suggested YZ was the driver of a black Audi A4 that the prosecution has said Mr Lunney was bundled into the back of by his abductors near Mr Lunney's home. YZ said he does not accept that he was the driver of the Audi. Detectives put it to him that CCTV showed the Audi travelling from where Mr Lunney was abducted near his home to the yard where he was "tortured" at Drumbrade, Co Cavan.
They said that an e-flow [motorway toll] tag that belonged to the previous owner of the same Audi was found in YZ's apartment during a garda search under warrant in November 2019. YZ said the tag belonged to "someone who is no longer with us." Det Sgt Woods later agreed with YZ's defence counsel Michael O'Higgins SC that the "someone no longer with us" was a reference to Cyril McGuinness.
YZ said he found the tag in a Renault Kangoo van with a lightning bolt on the side that the prosecution alleges YZ, Darren Redmond and Alan O'Brien used to travel to and from Cavan on the day of the abduction.
He said he did not own the Kangoo van and suggested that gardai check who brought it into the country. He was asked to empty the Kangoo, he said, and took the e-flow tag and any paperwork he found and left them in his apartment. When asked who bought the van, he replied: "A friend no longer with us. I'm not mentioning anyone's names."
Detectives told YZ that the e-flow tag had come from the black Audi and suggested to him that it was in his apartment because he removed it from the Audi, not the Kangoo. He said: "I just told you, I got it from the Renault. It came out of the Kangoo."
Det Sgt Woods explained to YZ that under Section 18 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984, a court can draw inferences from an accused person's failure or refusal to answer relevant questions. Having invoked the Act, Det Sgt Woods asked YZ to account for his being seen on CCTV driving the Renault Kangoo at an Applegreen station in Virginia, Co Cavan at 23:06 on September 16, 2019, the night before Mr Lunney was abducted. YZ replied: "No comment."
Under the same provisions Det Sgt Woods asked YZ to account for the presence of blood with DNA matching Mr Lunney's on a sliding door inside the Kangoo.
YZ replied: "I already accounted in the interview that I didn’t put Kevin Lunney into any van so I can’t account for it."
He said, "no comment", when asked to account for his presence at the Applegreen with fellow accused Alan O'Brien on the 16th. He gave the same response when asked to comment on his presence with Mr O'Brien and another accused, Darren Redmond, at an apartment block in Dublin 3 on the day of the abduction.
YZ was also invited to mention any facts that he may rely on in his defence and was told that under Section 19 of the Act a court can draw inferences from anything he fails to mention but later relies on in his defence. He replied: "No comment."
The trial continues in front of Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, with Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge David McHugh.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.