herald

Monday 18 November 2019

Court hears secret recordings included talk of shooting rival

Liam Brannigan has pleaded not guilty after being charged with conspiring to murder Gary Hanley
Liam Brannigan has pleaded not guilty after being charged with conspiring to murder Gary Hanley

Secretly recorded conversations involving a man accused of conspiring to commit murder include a discussion about how the intended victim was to be shot, a prosecution barrister has told a court.

Liam Brannigan (37), from Bride Street, Dublin 8, is charged with conspiring to murder Gary Hanley at a location within the State between September 15 and November 6, 2017.

In the Special Criminal Court yesterday afternoon, Mr Brannigan replied "not guilty" when he was asked how he intended to plead before Mr Justice Paul Coffey, presiding, with Judge Sinead Ni Chulachain and Judge James Faughnan.

Handgun

Three men who previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder Mr Hanley have already been jailed.

They are Luke Wilson (24), from Cremona Road in Ballyfermot, Dublin; Alan Wilson (39), of New Street Gardens, Dublin 8; and Joseph Kelly (35), of Kilworth Road, Drimnagh, Dublin 12.

Luke Wilson, who also pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a Beretta handgun with intent to endanger life, was jailed for 11 years; Alan Wilson was given six years and Kelly, who also admitted a weapons charge, was jailed for a total of 12 years.

Following the arraignment, Sean Gillane SC opened the trial of Mr Brannigan by saying that the prosecution will use seized phones, vehicles, observations of movements and audio recordings obtained during a garda surveillance operation to prove Mr Brannigan was "fully knowing of the plot" to kill Mr Hanley.

Outlining the prosecution's case, Mr Gillane told the non-jury court that it will hear how a garda investigation began in August 2017 arising out of a suspicion of a feud between two groups in Dublin, before gardai eventually identified that Mr Hanley was an intended murder target.

He said the court will hear that, as a consequence of the garda investigation, gardai became suspicious that a tracking device was placed on the car of Mr Hanley's partner.

"That vehicle was stopped by gardai and two tracking devices were found in the car," he said.

The barrister said that the court will hear how, two days before the tracking devices were found, gardai observed Mr Brannigan in the Phoenix Park where he was seen showing a device to a man, before they were joined by a third man.

Mr Gillane said the court will hear how the men chatted before Mr Brannigan handed over the item to an unnamed man.

He said recordings of conversations between the accused and others "make it clear that an operation was in place to attack Gary Hanley at his home in north Dublin".

Mr Gillane said that the court will hear how, shortly after 8pm on Monday, November 6, 2017, gardai carried out "a planned intervention" when they stopped a Volkswagen caddy van at Philipsburgh Avenue, Marino, Dublin 3, a "short distance" from Mr Hanley's home.

Pistol

Mr Gillane said the court will hear the van was being driven by Kelly while Luke Wilson was in the back seat.

The barrister said the court will be told how the two men were arrested, their phones were seized and a semi-automatic pistol with 15 rounds of ammunition, a "sound suppressor" and a container of petrol were found during the arrest.

He also said that the court will be told that it is "clear" from garda surveillance that a number of reconnaissance trips were organised to include Mr Brannigan travelling from south Dublin to north Dublin, during the day and night, "in order to make arrangements to carry out the attack".

The trial continues.

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