Ex-businessman to stand trial in special criminal court over Lordship Credit Union theft

A former businessman has been remanded to the Special Criminal Court charged with the 2013 robbery at Lordship Credit Union where Garda detective Adrian Donohoe was shot dead.

James Flynn (31), from Ravensglen, Newry, Co Down, who had been detained in Britain since last year pending extradition, was flown back to Ireland on Friday evening and appeared in Dublin District Court on Saturday .

He did not apply for bail after District Court President Judge Paul Kelly issued an order remanding him for trial.

Gardaí charged him with two offences, the first being the theft of €7,000 cash and matching checks from Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Co Louth on January 25, 2013.

He was also charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, along with two other men, including Aaron Brady, between September 11, 2012 and January 23, 2013.

Brady, of New Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, had denied murder in the shooting death of Detective Garda Donohoe during a robbery at Lordship Credit Union in Co Louth on January 25, 2013. However, he was given a life sentence after being found guilty in August 2020.

At Saturday’s hearing, Garda Detective Gareth Kenna told Judge Kelly he arrested Mr Flynn on the south apron of Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport at 6.26pm on Friday.

Gardaí brought him to Dublin Airport’s Garda station and charged him just over an hour later.

I strongly deny this accusation

Detective Garda Kenna said Mr Flynn’s response to the charge of theft from the credit union was as follows: “I strongly deny the charge. I was not present in the car park on January 25. I am a businessman who had been running a successful business in the United States since 2011.”

He responded to the second accusation with reservations: “I strongly deny this accusation.”

Mr Flynn, dressed in a light blue shirt, navy blue jeans and gray runners, was served with an evidence book. A state attorney told Judge Kelly that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had ordered that Mr Flynn be remanded for trial.

Further, Judge Kelly noted that the DPP had provided a certificate under Section 46.2 of the Offenses Against the State Act “that the ordinary courts are insufficient to secure the effective administration of justice”.

The state asked the judge to issue an order remanding Mr. Flynn to the Special Criminal Court without a jury on both counts.

Judge Kelly granted the order and warned Mr Flynn that he must tell the prosecution in writing within 14 days if he intended to use an alibi in his defence.

The defendant replied, “Yes, Your Honor”, confirming that he understood.

There was no request for bail.

Judge Kelly remanded him in custody pending his appearance before the Special Criminal Court.

A date has not yet been set for his appearance there, but lawyers expected it to be within the next two weeks.

Defense lawyer John Temple, instructed by barrister Darragh Mackin, requested legal aid.

Statement of means

The judge granted Mr. Flynn a 20-minute break to complete a statement of his pleas. The state argued that it needed to be assessed, but added that it did not adopt a “predetermined or prefixed opinion.”

When the case resumed, the state asked for time to review the document in light of Mr. Flynn’s response to the charges.

Mr Temple said his client ‘does not have a job and has no income’.

He added that his client had been in the UK since July last year awaiting extradition and that legal aid had been granted during proceedings at Westminster Magistrates Court in December.

He added that his client owned a family home, but his wife had paid the mortgage.

In response, the prosecution referred to his unsuccessful bail application in the UK, where he had offered £185,000 in cash and an independent surety of £965,000.

Mr Temple told Judge Kelly that these monies came from “a group of extended family members” who did not reside in that jurisdiction.

He submitted his client’s response to the prosecution after the caution said he “was” a businessman. In response, the state suggested that “characterizing the financial condition as historical does not ring true.”

The court heard that the state would assess the means statement as soon as possible.

Judge Kelly noted that “there are extraordinary sums of money available as recently as last December”, and he postponed the decision on the legal aid application, which the magistrate court will now rule on.

Mr Flynn waved at family members in the public gallery as he was escorted out of the courtroom.