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Witness got involved with Mansfields through his hair thinning business, trial told

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Jim Mansfield Jnr leaving court

Jim Mansfield Jnr leaving court

CollinsPhotoAgency

Jim Mansfield Jnr leaving court

A former employee of Jim Mansfield Jnr who claims the businessman set him up to be falsely imprisoned by a gang has denied he is someone who makes himself look important and likes "a bit of grandiosity".

State witness Martin Byrne (53) - who is now in the Witness Protection Programme and was the in-house security director of Citywest Hotel - was being cross-examined yesterday at the non-jury Special Criminal Court trial of Mr Mansfield Jnr (53).

Mr Byrne told the three-judge court last Friday that his former employer Mr Mansfield Jnr arranged meetings with the New IRA and the INLA to "assist" in getting back parts of his family's former property portfolio.

Mr Byrne told the court that Mr Mansfield Jnr was "a couple of feet away" when he was taken prisoner by a gang of seven men, which included former INLA man Dessie O'Hare and former Republican paramilitary Declan 'Whacker' Duffy.

Mr Byrne testified that he believed Mr Mansfield Jnr had set him up.

Mr Mansfield Jnr, of Tasaggart House, Garters Lane, Saggart, Co Dublin, is accused of conspiring with one or more persons to falsely imprison Martin Byrne on a date unknown between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2015, both dates inclusive.

He is also charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice by directing Patrick Byrne to destroy recorded CCTV footage, with the alleged intention of perverting the course of public justice in relation to the false imprisonment of Martin Byrne at Finnstown House Hotel, Newcastle Road, Lucan, Co Dublin between June 9, 2015 and June 12, 2015.

Mr Mansfield has pleaded not guilty to both counts.

It is the prosecution's case that Mr Mansfield Jnr "effectively delivered" Martin Byrne into the arms of a group of men who falsely imprisoned him and his family five years ago.

Under cross-examination yesterday defence counsel Bernard Condon SC, for Mr Mansfield Jnr, put it to Mr Byrne that he had described himself as a hair specialist at one stage, which the witness accepted.

Mr Byrne agreed that his introduction into the Mansfields' affairs was when he ran a business which offered thinning hair solutions.

The key prosecution witness acknowledged he had taken many security courses with the Security Institute of Ireland and had worked with a number of celebrities, including Michael Flatley.

Mr Condon asked the witness if he had worked for the CEO of Hewlett Packard.

"I was looking after his protection and liaised with him," said Mr Byrne.

The barrister said the impression one might get was that Mr Byrne had been employed by the CEO of Hewlett Packard.

"That wasn't what I said," he replied.

Mr Condon asked the witness why it appeared on his LinkedIn page that he held the position of director of international operations with Control Risk Management Solutions, when he previously told the court he was a non-executive training consultant with the company.

"They wanted me to leave Citywest and become involved in the company full-time and this was the position I was requested to work in," he replied.

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The lawyer put it to the witness he was someone who liked to make himself important.

"I don't need to make myself important," replied Mr Byrne.

Mr Condon suggested that the witness liked a "bit of grandiosity", to which Mr Byrne said: "That's your opinion."

Asked about the day that Citywest Hotel went into receivership in 2010, Mr Byrne said the accounts office had contacted Jim Mansfield Snr's office to say the receiver Martin Ferris was coming in imminently.

"When the receiver presented himself at reception to go to Jim Mansfield Snr's office, that's when I followed him up the stairs," he said.

Mr Byrne denied the proposition from the defence that he was never at this meeting and insisted he was. Mr Condon suggested to the witness that he was making it up as he went along. The witness denied this.

The trial continues.


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