Alan Harte named leader of Kevin Lunney kidnapping

The High Court has lifted an order preventing the ringleader from being named in the kidnapping and serious bodily injury of businessman Kevin Lunney.

This is Alan Harte (40), who was sentenced last month to 30 years in prison by the Special Criminal Court (SCC) without a jury for seriously injuring and wrongfully imprisoning the director of Quinn Industrial Holdings ( QIH) in 2019.

The order was lifted on Tuesday by Judge Charles Meenan who denied a request by Mr. Harte’s lawyers to further extend Harte’s anonymity.

The DPP had argued that Mr. Harte should be appointed.

Citing Section 34 of the Irish Constitution, which says justice must be done in public, the judge said he saw “no reason” to uphold the order.

The judge also said legal safeguards remained available to Mr Harte regarding any harm he allegedly suffered as a result of any publicity arising from his trial and conviction by the SCC.

During his trial, Harte was nicknamed “YZ”. At sentencing, CPS Judge Tony Hunt described Harte as the “ringleader” and the person who inflicted most of Mr Lunney’s injuries.

Two other men involved in the abduction and attack on the businessman, Alan O’Brien (40), of Shelmalier Road, and Darren Redmond (27), of Caledon Road, both East Wall, Dublin, were also sentenced to lengthy prison terms by the CSC.

The anonymity order, initially granted by the SCC, was extended by the High Court in December.

The order had been put in place when Harte, with an address at Island Quay Apartments, East Wall, was first in court in connection with the offences.

He was granted it because he was to be tried in the Central Criminal Court on an unrelated murder charge.

That lawsuit collapsed, and the charge against Harte was dismissed, after the DPP filed a trial in the case.

However, the order was maintained, on a temporary basis after his conviction by the SCC.

This was done to protect human rights to a fair trial as he has other unrelated criminal cases pending before the criminal courts.

Following his conviction, Harte’s attorneys argued that his naming by the media in news reports could infringe on his rights to a fair trial before a judge and jury.

Following these concerns, Harte launched High Court judicial review proceedings against the DPP and the SCC seeking injunctions, including a temporary order extending his anonymity.

The anonymity order stood until Tuesday’s session of the High Court.

On Tuesday, Harte’s attorneys had asked the court to uphold the order, arguing it was possible some of the criminal cases could be heard within the six-month window.

He asked for an extension until February, when one of the cases against him was due to be mentioned in court.

Michael Hourigan BL for Harte said it was possible some of the criminal cases could be heard within the next six months.

It was argued that a fainting factor of about six months, from when a person is sentenced to when they appear before a judge and jury in other courts, was necessary.

The request to extend the order was contested by the DPP, represented by Sean Guerin SC.

The lawyer said there was little to no chance that the outstanding cases would be heard in the next six months.

There was therefore no reason for the man not to be named today, the lawyer said.

What was an “unfounded” and “artificial” “fake arrangement” should now be removed, he said.

The attorney said the continuation of the order was sought as part of an attempt by Harte to continue to prevent the publication of his name for a period of time.

In his ruling, Justice Meenan said it was part of the criminal process that those convicted of offenses be named, except in certain exceptional circumstances.

Harte’s case did not fall under one of those exceptions, and the judge said there was no reason to maintain the order.

He said Harte could make any request he needs to the courts to have safeguards put in place to prevent him from being harmed in an upcoming trial.

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