A self-titled ‘Arthur Daly’ used car salesman’s conviction for IRA membership was overturned on Tuesday after it emerged his defense team had not been told that the main prosecution witness at the trial was a The convict was a criminal.
In an unusual move, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) did not oppose the application, while the Chairman of the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice George Birmingham, said the circumstances of the case should now be examined. The court will later decide whether Robert O’Leary, 43, who has been in prison since October 2020, should face trial again.
In its trial, the DPP claimed that the Skoda Octavia car used by the New Era, when they placed a bomb under the jeep of a PSNI officer at Shandon Park Golf Club in Belfast on June 2019, was supplied by Mr. O’Leary. was done.
Mr O’Leary (43) of Clancy Road, Finglas, Dublin pleaded not guilty to a single count of membership of an unlawful organization, contrary to Section 21 of the Offenses Against the State Act 1939, as Section 48 was modified by. Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offenses) Act 2005.
However, a three-judge Special Criminal Court convicted him on August 20th, 2019 of being a member of a group styling itself as the Irish Republican Army at a location within the state, otherwise Aglagh na Hirennan.
He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment by Mr Justice Tony Hunt in October 2020.
Mr. O’Leary later launched an appeal against the conviction on the grounds that a newly discovered fact about the main prosecution witness meant it was unsafe.
At the Court of Appeals on Tuesday, the Chair of the Court, sitting with Mr Justice George Birmingham, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Ellen Donnelly, was told the DPP was not opposing an application to quash the sentence.
Paul Green SC for the DPP told the court that it “remains in the mix” whether Mr O’Leary should be tried again on the original charge.
Mr Green also stated that the DPP has no objection to any application by the defendant to be released on bail.
In a court submission, Mr. O’Leary’s lawyers claimed that the state’s main witness against his client, Nick Kasapi (40), was a convicted drug dealer.
According to the defense, Kasapi pleaded guilty to two counts of being in possession of a quantity of drugs for sale or supply at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in May 2016 and was sentenced to two years and six months in prison.
Kasapi, aka Armin Kasapovic, was also named in legal papers as the owner of a company called Millennium Motors and wanted in Montenegro for drug offenses involving the sale or supply of €2m worth of cannabis .
It was further claimed that this information was withheld from the defense despite repeated requests for disclosure.
“Had these facts been known before trial, it would have affected the credibility of the witness,” the defense argument said.
Claiming that “a very different approach would have been taken per examination” if Kaspi’s criminal record had been disclosed to him prior to trial, Mr O’Leary’s lawyers stated that the occasion would have given him “prosecution”. due to failure of”. comply with your disclosure obligations”.
Before Mr O’Leary was released on bail, Justice Birmingham said that under the circumstances that led the DPP to decide not to oppose an application, a conviction had been overturned and should now be investigated.
“A situation where a witness has already been convicted and this conviction has not been disclosed is unsatisfactory,” he said.
After his arrest, Mr O’Leary told Garda that he had bought the Skoda Octavia for €750 and had it with him for two or three days before selling it.
Comparing himself to Arthur Daly’s character from the 1980s comedy series Minder, he told executives that his main business was panel beating, but that he would also “flip” used cars for €200.