29 Jun 2022

Bid to extend anonymity of Lunney attacker comes before High Court

Bid to extend anonymity of Lunney attacker comes before High Court

Bid to extend anonymity of Lunney attacker comes before High Court

An application to extend an order preserving the anonymity of the man known as YZ convicted over his role in the kidnapping of businessman Kevin Lunney has come before the High Court.

The application has been brought to protect the man's fair trial rights; Mr Justice Charles Meenan heard on Thursday.

The man has other criminal matters pending before the Criminal Courts, and his naming by the media in reports could prejudice the rights to a fair trial before a judge and jury, it is alleged.

The order was due to expire earlier this week, but the man's lawyers successfully applied to the Special Criminal Court for an extension for a week to allow them to go to the High Court seeking an order that he should remain anonymous until other matters before the courts are dealt with.

At the High Court on Thursday Michael O'Higgins SC for the man said that it was hoped to move the application seeking permission to bring the challenge on Friday (December 17).

Counsel said that it is their case that the man's anonymity should be preserved until a date in mid-January at least.

At that stage it may be known when the trials of other pending matters are likely to be heard.

Mr Justice Meenan directed that the application for leave be made on notice to lawyers for the DPP.

YZ and his two co-accused are due to be sentenced on Monday for their roles in the abduction and torture of Mr Lunney. 

Following their trial earlier this year YZ was convicted along with two other men of false imprisonment and intentionally causing harm to Mr Lunney at a yard at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan on September 17, 2019.

The trial heard that Mr Lunney, a director of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH), was driving along a narrow laneway leading to his home when a BMW reversed into his Toyota Landcruiser.

Two men got out of the BMW and dragged Mr Lunney from his vehicle before YZ approached, held a Stanley knife to Mr Lunney's face and told him to get into the boot of his Audi A4.

YZ drove with his two accomplices, and Mr Lunney in the boot, to a horse trailer in a remote farmyard in Cavan where they stripped Mr Lunney to his boxer shorts, doused him in bleach, shattered his shin bone with two blows of a wooden bat, punched and kicked him, sliced his face with a Stanley knife and carved the letters QIH into his chest.

The men told Mr Lunney to resign from his position with QIH and end legal proceedings he was involved with in Belfast and Dublin.

Delivering the Special Criminal Court's verdict last month, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said that YZ was "heavily involved in these crimes before, during and after the commission thereof."

The SCC was satisfied that YZ was the driver of the car used to take Mr Lunney to the yard and that he was "responsible for inflicting most of Mr Lunney's serious injuries."

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