Laois counterfeit trial collapses

The Special Criminal Court trial of four men accused of having equipment for printing counterfeit currency has collapsed following revelations that information on a fifth suspect was deliberately kept from the defence.

The Special Criminal Court trial of four men accused of having equipment for printing counterfeit currency has collapsed following revelations that information on a fifth suspect was deliberately kept from the defence.

The prosecution this morning entered a “Nolle Prosequi”, meaning it will not pursue the charges against Kevin Flanagan (43), of Borris-in-Ossory, Co Laois, Liam Delaney (42), with addresses at Mountrath and Borris-in-Ossory, Anthony Sloan (57), a native of Belfast with an address at Ard na Mara, Dundalk, Co Louth and Andrew Poole (43), of Portlaoise, Co Laois.

The men had all pleaded not guilty to possession of equipment, including printers and cutting machines, to manufacture counterfeit currency at Ballybrophy, Borris-in-Ossory on May 31, 2010.

Mr Garnet Orange BL, prosecuting, applied to enter a Nolle Prosequi on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions in what was the fourth week of the trial. It emerged last week that a deliberate decision was taken not to disclose information regarding a fifth suspect in the case to the defence.

The court had heard evidence from fingerprint expert Detective Garda James Cunningham that thumb-marks belonging to Mr Flanagan were found in a bunker containing printing machines that was hidden underneath a portable cabin where the men were arrested.

Last Thursday counsel for Mr Flanagan, Mr Fergal Kavanagh SC, told the court that a document given to him by Det Garda Cunningham contained information on the presence of a fifth person in the bunker by way of fingerprint evidence.