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Thursday 14 November 2019

'I believed they were Kinahan cartel members' - detective tells murder bid trial how five cars were bugged

Liam Brannigan has pleaded not guilty
Liam Brannigan has pleaded not guilty

Two cars allegedly used by a man accused of conspiring to murder were among five bugged with secret listening devices by gardai investigating the Kinahan cartel, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

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. The accused has pleaded not guilty.

Yesterday Mr Brannigan's trial heard evidence from the head of the National Surveillance Unit, Detective Superintendent William Johnson, about the deployment of listening devices on five vehicles - a Seat, a Volkswagen Caddy, a Renault Laguna, a BMW and a Nissan Primastar in August, September and October of 2017.

Det Supt Johnson told Sean Gillane SC, for the State, that on August 31, 2017, he was aware a number of his officers were monitoring a specific Seat car, as part of an ongoing investigation into members of the Kinahan organised crime gang and their associates.

He said he believed the car was moved by Joseph Kelly (35), of Kilworth Road, Drimnagh, Dublin 12, before it was parked in Inchicore, Dublin 8.

Listening

Det Supt Johnson told the non-jury court he believed Kelly along with others, including Alan Wilson (39), of New Street Gardens, Dublin 8, planned to use the vehicle in relation to criminal activities.

Kelly and Wilson have previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder Mr Hanley.

Det Supt Johnson said at around 11pm on August 31, 2017, he approved an audio listening device to be deployed in the Seat for the following 12 hours.

Bugging the car was to "capture conversations by persons using the vehicle" and it was his belief the conversations would relate to "arrestable offences".

Two further extensions were granted at later dates and on September 13, 2017, his officers identified a white Volkswagen Caddy van which he believed was "under the control" of Liam Brannigan, Alan Wilson and Kelly.

Det Supt Johnson said: "I believed they were members of the Kinahan organised crime gang."

He approved the fitting of an audio device to that vehicle and later for a black Renault Laguna on October 3, 2017.

He believed it was also under the "care and control" of the Kinahan gang and, in particular, Liam Brannigan and another named person. Two other vehicles were bugged in early September, a black BMW and white Nissan Primastar.

In respect of the Volkswagen Caddy, Giollaiosa O Lideadha SC, for Mr Brannigan said: "What's missing is the information as to who comes to you with allegations upon which you grant the exercise of a very important power."

The court has already heard gardai give evidence about the arrest of Luke Wilson (24), from Cremona Road, Ballyfermot, and Joseph Kelly after their Volkswagen Caddy was stopped on Philipsburgh Avenue just after 8pm on November 6, 2017.

Gardai seized a 9mm Beretta semi-automatic pistol, a silencer, a magazine loaded with 15 roads of 9mm ammunition, a number of phones, a rucksack and a container of petrol.

The trial continues.

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