Flynn guilty of charge linked to Lordship armed robbery

Flynn guilty of charge linked to Lordship armed robbery

A 32-year-old man has been convicted of one charge in connection with the armed robbery at the Lordship Credit Union ten years ago, during which a detective garda was shot dead, while his 34-year-old co-accused has been acquitted.

James Flynn has been found guilty of breaking into a house and stealing the keys of a car which was later used in the robbery of Lordship Credit Union and the capital murder of a detective garda.

He was found not guilty of the robbery of €7,000 at the Credit Union on 25 January 2013.

Brendan Treanor, 34, previously of Emer Terrace, Castletown Road, Dundalk was found not guilty of both charges.

Flynn was remanded in custody for sentencing in November.

Brendan Treanor (L) and James Flynn (R)

It is ten years since Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was shot dead during an armed robbery at the Lordship Credit Union in County Louth.

One man, Aaron Brady is serving life in prison for that capital murder.

At the Special Criminal Court this afternoon, a second man was convicted for his role in the theft of the getaway car used in that robbery.

Flynn from South Armagh was found guilty of conspiring with Brady and others to break into a house in Clogherhead two days before the robbery and murder and steal the keys of the Volkswagen Passatt used as a getaway car in that crime.

The court was satisfied that Flynn picked up Brady in his BMW that night for what they termed as « night work » and that Flynn’s car was later captured on CCTV in convoy with the stolen car.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said Flynn « actively conspired with two companions to burgle house and secrete the car away for use of criminality ».

Flynn was however found not guilty of a second charge of robbing €7,000 from the Credit Union on 25 January 2013.

The court found his BMW had been recorded on CCTV involved in surveillance activity along with Brady the night before the robbery and the following day.

« It puts James Flynn closer to the centre of affairs than Brendan Treanor, » Mr Justice Tony Hunt said, « he was scrutinising more closely because he would be present at the events. »

The court was also satisfied that Flynn had lied a number of times, including about an attempt to contact a woman and about a visit to a house outside Crossmaglen at the time of the robbery.

It said he was an active member of the gang when it carried out the robbery and that he participated with Brady in conducting two instances of surveillance.

However, the court said it could not be sure that Flynn was one of the four men who participated in the robbery and there was no direct evidence to link him to the crime.

« There are charges for participation in criminal gangs but none has been put here, » Mr Justice Hunt said.

« In the final analysis we cannot be sure he was at the scene as opposed to being a participant in the gang and we are compelled to return a verdict of not guilty on this charge. »

Brendan Treanor was acquitted of all charges this afternoon.

Mr Justice Hunt said that while « clear evidence establishes that Treanor is a member of a criminal gang along with others and was involved before during and after the robbery », there is no direct evidence linking him to the scene.

« Whatever about his involvement with the gang, » the judge said, « the prosecution has not established beyond reasonable doubt that he was not at home (as he said) during the robbery. »

The judge specifically referred to a tattoo depicting the events at Lordship that night which Brendan Treanor has on his back. He said the court was satisfied the components of the tattoo link to Lordship, a revolver, bullets, a wad of notes, a knuckleduster, four gangsters, a long-barrelled gun over roof of BMW.

Detective Garda Donohoe was, he said, shot dead with a long-barrelled gun.

Mr Justice Hunt said that Mr Treanor had « applied this tattoo out of sense of impunity. »

He said the tattoo « signifies his approval of crimes, a despicable declaration of that effect ».

The court found there was insufficient evidence to convict Brendan Treanor

« Brendan Treanor had more than an artistic interest in gangsterism, it was more active and concrete, » he said. « The tattoo can be regarded as a pictorial admission that he was a member of the gang in the broad sense and that he approved. »

However, the judge pointed out that the tattoo « does not unequivocally » show that Mr Treanor was one of the four men at Lordship that night and there was no evidence he was questioned « under statutory instrument » about « what he had in mind when he took extraordinary step to put it on his back ».

The court found that while Mr Treanor was « closely associated with » and « supported, participated and approved » of the gang’s activities, there was insufficient evidence to convict him and the court had no option but to find him not guilty.

Mr Justice Hunt remanded Flynn in custody for sentencing on 13 November.

After the verdict, Mr Treanor asked the court not to publish its judgement and to « correct the record » so that no reference is included that Mr Treanor is a member of a criminal gang.

His senior counsel Sean Guerin said it was « not for this court to reach a conclusion on that » and that his « real concern » was that « people might reach conclusions because of the findings on the authority of a criminal court ».

Mr Treanor, he said, was never charged with the offence of being a member of a criminal gang and had no chance to defend himself.

« For a citizen to have a court give an effect on a ruling of an offence with which he was never charged carries with it grave damage to his reputation, » he said.

« We don’t think he has any good name, » Mr Justice Hunt replied, « the tattoo on his back is evidence of that ».

Senior counsel Brendan Grehan replied that justice must be administered in public and that it is absolutely in accordance with the administration of justice that the full text of the court’s view be known, even if that includes court making comment.

« There is no basis for a court having delivered its verdict to start editing it, » he said

The three judges rose to consider the application and returned to refuse it.

« We conducted a three-month trial and are obliged to apply the same law as every other criminal jury but obliged to provide a reasoned verdict why we’ve done what we’ve done, » Mr Justice Hunt said, « that omelette can’t be made without a few eggs being cracked.

« The evidence didn’t come quite far enough to the proof required but we utterly reject it obliges us to whitewash or not refer to bits of the evidence because he might not like it.

« These are matters that had to be addressed in a full and comprehensive way. Mr Treanor has secured his acquittal and no more than that and certainly not his good name. He can go elsewhere for that, » the judge said.

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