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Mansfield Jnr suing Garda and DPP over dropped ammo case

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Jim Mansfield Jnr

Jim Mansfield Jnr

Jim Mansfield Jnr

A son of the late one-time billionaire Jim Mansfield Snr has sued garda authorities and the DPP, claiming he was the subject of a "malicious prosecution".

Jim Mansfield Jnr (53) was accused of unlawfully possessing 180 rounds of .22 Walther ammunition without a firearms licence following a search of his home in Saggart, Co Dublin, in January 2015.

However, the case never went to trial and the charge, which he denied, was withdrawn three years later.

Now Mr Mansfield is seeking damages over the prosecution that he alleges was taken without reasonable and probable cause.

Abuse

In High Court proceedings initiated on Monday, he alleges malicious prosecution, misfeasance in public office and abuse of statutory powers.

The action, being taken against the Garda Commissioner, the Criminal Assets Bureau, the DPP, the Justice Minister and the Attorney General, is expected to be hotly contested.

In a plenary summons, Mr Mansfield claims the defendants "conspired to manufacture a public perception" that he was involved in criminality.

He claims this involved the unlawful disclosure of sensi- tive personal data, in breach of the Data Protection Acts and his constitutional rights.

Mr Mansfield's solicitor Kevin Winters confirmed the proceedings had been issued and said he had also been engaged with the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) and the Garda Commissioner "on some of the matters arising out of this".

Barrister Barra McGrory, the former DPP for Northern Ireland, has been instructed in the case on behalf of Mr Mansfield.

A similar charge was brought against Mr Mansfield's brother PJ (43), who was accused of possessing 1,252 rounds of .22- calibre ammunition without the relevant firearms licence.

However, a judge directed a jury to find him not guilty as the prosecution had not proved how many rounds of ammunition he was entitled to possess.

The brothers are sons of Jim Mansfield Snr, who died in January, 2014. He was the prominent businessman behind the Citywest Hotel, Weston Aerodrome and several other businesses and properties.

His empire collapsed during the recession in the late 2000s and most of his assets were seized by Bank of Scotland (Ireland) and the National Asset Management Agency.

The filing of the civil action by Mr Mansfield Jnr comes as he awaits trial at the Special Criminal Court in connection with the false imprisonment of Martin Byrne in 2015.

Conspiring

Last December, he was granted legal aid after the court heard he had a €6m judgment against him. It relates to a failed property venture.

Mr Mansfield Jnr denies charges of conspiring with one or more persons to falsely imprison Mr Byrne and attempting to pervert the course of justice by directing the destruction of CCTV footage.

Two figures associated with the INLA, Dessie O'Hare and Declan 'Whacker' Duffy, were jailed after admitting the false imprisonment of Mr Byrne and other charges.