Tiger kidnapping charges against a man previously described in court as one of the most serious players in organised crime have been dropped at Dublin Circuit Court.
Jonathan Gill (40) is a free man after the State entered a "nolle prosequi" on the charges that he had been facing since November 2013.
No reason was given in court yesterday for the decision.
A previous six-week trial in relation to the charges collapsed in 2017 amid concerns some jurors were getting information from outside the trial.
Gill had been accused of the 2011 kidnapping of a postal worker, his partner and their 10-week-old baby daughter before robbing €660,000 from the man's workplace. He denied all the charges.
In May 2017, Mark McCarthy (34), of Elm Dale Crescent, Ballyfermot, was jailed for nine years after pleading guilty to the kidnapping. He later had his nine-year prison sentence increased to 15 years following an appeal by prosecutors.
Gill's retrial was originally due to happen in May last year but was adjourned because a "vital witness" was missing in Australia.
Gill, whose associates were the chief suspects for the murder of Real IRA boss Alan Ryan in 2012, and whose pal Kenneth Finn (36) was shot dead as part of a separate gang dispute in Coolock last year, has been a major target for gardai for years.
His stringent bail conditions meant that he had to sign on at a garda station at least once a day for almost six years with officers regularly calling to his northside home to check up on him.
The suspected criminal mastermind will no longer have to abide by these conditions and is free now to leave the country again.
The Herald can today reveal for the first time that Gill was described by an investigating garda sergeant in the Drogheda tiger kidnapping case as one of the "top criminals in Ireland".
The statement was made at a Dublin District Court bail hearing just days after Gill was charged in relation to the shocking tiger kidnapping.
Gill lived in a "bulletproof house" in north Dublin and when members of the ERU raided it, sparks flew as their pick-axe bounced off the patio door, Sergeant Fearghal O'Toole stated at that hearing.
Sgt O'Toole said he believed Gill to be a member of an organised crime group.
"He is part of an organised crime group and he would be one of the top criminals in this country," Sgt O'Toole said.
He had been at Gill's address and "the house is bullet proof. The front windows, the patio door, the whole house is bullet proof", the garda said.
On a date in December 2012, Gill was a passenger in a vehicle in Dublin city centre when he attempted to evade gardai and was allegedly found with a magnetic GPS device designed to be fitted to a vehicle, along with balaclavas and disposable gloves, he said.
In relation to Northern Ireland money-laundering allegations, a search in February 2013 resulted in the recovery of €65,000 in cash which was damp, 25 mobile phones, surveillance equipment, a ski mask and black wig, the court heard.
Gill was arrested by PSNI detectives and charged in the North where he spent a number of months in custody before the case against him was dropped.
On that occasion, he was arrested in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, with his then associate Paschal Kelly (54), who was separately sentenced to 18 years in January for a €92,000 post office tiger kidnapping in which three women were tied up and abducted in Malahide in September 2014.
Kelly and Gill were described in court by a PSNI detective as leaders of an organised criminal gang who allegedly carry guns for their own protection.
Gill was later granted bail in the North after he told the High Court in Belfast that he won €250,000 as part of a Lotto winning syndicate in 2011 and that he had received €25,000 in a personal injury claim.
The money-laundering charges in the North were eventually dropped, but just months later Gill was charged with the Drogheda offences.