A former businessman has been sent forward for trial at the Special Criminal Court, accused of the 2013 robbery at the Lordship Credit Union where Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was shot dead.
James Flynn (31), of Ravensglen, Newry, Co Down, who had been held in Britain since last year pending extradition, was brought back to Ireland on Friday evening and appeared at Dublin District Court on Saturday.
He made no application for bail after the District Court president Judge Paul Kelly granted an order sending him forward for trial.
Gardaí charged him with two offences, the first being for the robbery of €7,000 in cash and assorted cheques at the Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Co Louth on January 25th, 2013.
He was also charged with conspiracy to commit burglaries, with two other men, including Aaron Brady, between September 11th, 2012, and January 23rd, 2013.
Brady, of New Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, had denied murder for the fatal shooting of Detective Garda Donohoe during a robbery at Lordship Credit Union in Co Louth on January 25th, 2013. However, he was sentenced to life after being found guilty in August 2020.
At Saturday’s hearing, Detective Garda Gareth Kenna told Judge Kelly he arrested Mr Flynn at Dublin Airport’s Terminal 2 south apron at 6.26pm on Friday.
Gardaí brought him to Dublin Airport Garda station and charged him just over an hour later.
I strongly deny that charge
Detective Garda Kenna said Mr Flynn’s reply to the credit union robbery charge was: “I strongly deny the charge. I was not present in the car park on the 25th of January; I’m a businessman who was running a successful business in the USA since 2011.”
He responded to the second charge under caution: “I strongly deny that charge.”
Mr Flynn, dressed in a light blue shirt, navy jeans and grey runners, was served with a book of evidence. A State solicitor told Judge Kelly that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) directed that Mr Flynn should be sent forward for trial.
Furthermore, Judge Kelly noted that the DPP had furnished a certificate under section 46.2 of the Offences Against the State Act “that the ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice”.
The State applied to the judge to make an order sending Mr Flynn forward for trial on both charges to the non-jury Special Criminal Court.
Judge Kelly granted the order and warned Mr Flynn that he must notify the prosecution in writing within 14 days if he intended to use an alibi in his defence.
The accused answered, “Yes, your honour”, confirming he understood.
There was no application for bail.
Judge Kelly remanded him in custody pending his appearance at the Special Criminal Court.
A date has yet to be set for his appearance there, but lawyers expected it to be in the next two weeks.
Defence counsel John Temple, instructed by solicitor Darragh Mackin, applied for legal aid.
Statement of means
The judge allowed a 20-minute recess for Mr Flynn to complete a statement of his means. The State submitted that it needed to be assessed but added that it had not taken a “predetermine or prefixed view”.
When the case resumed, the State asked for time to consider the document in light of Mr Flynn’s reply to the charges.
Mr Temple said his client “has no occupation and has no income”.
He added his client had been in the UK since July last year pending his extradition, and legal aid had been granted during proceedings at Westminster Magistrates Court in December.
He added that his client had a family home, but his wife paid the mortgage.
In reply, the prosecution referenced his unsuccessful bail application in the UK, where he had offered £185,000 in cash and a £965,000 independent surety.
Mr Temple told Judge Kelly that those sums came from “a collection of extended family members” who did not reside in this jurisdiction.
He submitted his client’s reply to the charge after caution stated he “was” a businessman. In response, the State suggested the “characterisation of the financial situation being historic does not ring true”.
The court heard the State would assess the statement of means as soon as possible.
Judge Kelly remarked that “there are extraordinary sums available as recently as last December”, and he deferred ruling on the legal aid application, which the trial court will now decide.
Mr Flynn waved to family members in the public gallery as he was escorted from the courtroom.