herald

Friday 24 January 2020

'Dublin Jimmy' sister-in-law fails to get seized phones back

Barbara Sloan. Photo: Collins Courts
Barbara Sloan. Photo: Collins Courts

The High Court has struck out an injunction application by a relative of dead criminal Cyril 'Dublin Jimmy' McGuinness seeking the return of mobile phones confiscated by gardai.

Barbara Sloan, a sister- in-law of McGuinness who died during a police raid at a house in Derbyshire, was travelling to the UK with his widow, Mary McGuinness, when they were taken off a flight at Dublin Airport.

She claims they were held by garda detectives for two hours and two mobile phones were seized.

Ms Sloan, of The Green, Seatown Park, Swords, Co Dublin, brought proceedings seeking various reliefs including an injunction requiring the Garda Commissioner to return the two smartphones to her.

Haste

The case was mentioned before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds yesterday, with lawyers for Ms Sloan asking that it be heard as soon as possible.

Tony McGillicuddy BL, for the State, said there was no urgency to the matter.

It had been brought "in haste" in the last few days before the end of the legal term, he added.

Counsel also said an application for the phones would more appropriately be made before the district court under the 1897 Police (Property) Act.

The phones were taken as part of what counsel said was "a serious, complex and difficult" investigation.

Alan Toal BL, for Ms Sloan, said his client had "no connection with and no involvement" in that investigation.

A Police (Property) Act application was not appropriate in this case and the matter was not brought earlier because of a recent illness to a member of his client's legal team, counsel said.

It was Ms Sloan's intention to bring this case before a judge and jury and that the phones contained information that gardai are not entitled to.

The judge, noting the phones had been seized in early November, said she was striking out the injunction application.

Appeal

She said there was no urgency to the matter and a Police (Property) Act application could be made before the district court. The judge also awarded the Garda Commissioner his legal costs.

It is understood that Ms Sloan is to appeal against Ms Justice Reynolds's decision.

Her main case claiming damages over the seizure remains in being.

Previously the court heard that Ms Sloan travels extensively and the phones contain business details.

Ms Sloan said Ms McGuinness had asked her to accompany her to Buxton, Derbyshire, to meet with the undertakers following her husband's death.

After boarding a flight to Manchester they were approached by detectives and taken off the aircraft. Ms Sloan said her luggage was searched and their phones confiscated.

She said she sought their return through a letter from her solicitors.

They were not returned, which resulted in the bringing of High Court proceedings.

Cyril McGuinness was considered a key suspect in the kidnapping and torture of Quinn Industrial Holdings director Kevin Lunney.

He died from a suspected "cardiac event" hours after being arrested by British police.

The raid was part of a series of searches linked to the attack on Mr Lunney in September.

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