SALLINS CASE TIMELINE
Osgur arrested. Released 48 hrs later.
40 people arrested. 11 prisoners tortured. Osgur kidnapped and tortured in underground tunnel and police locker room.
Incriminating statement written by Gardai signed by Osgur. Kelly, McNally & Fitzpatrick sign false incriminating statements written/dictated by Gardai. Osgur considers suicide in his cell. Osgur released but immediately re-arrested. Habeas Corpus application to High Court results in hospitalisation. Aidan Browne B.L. represents the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and later gives evidence that the High Court appearance of Breatnach was like those of tortured Hooded Men whose case the Irish Government had taken against Britain in the European Court! Returning to High Court he is illegally arrested. High Court releases Osgur. He is immediately arrested and charged with robbery and sent to Mountjoy Prison. McNally, Kelly, Fitzpatrick and Plunkett are brought to Bridewell’s District Court to be tried by jury and formally charged.
All five accused are transferred to Portlaoise prison and medically examined again.
Michael Barrett arrested (he was named in Fitzpatrick’s statement but both he and Fitzpatrick had the solid alibi of being with other witnesses). The foundation of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties by, amongst others, Law lecturers Kadar Asmal and future Irish President Mary Robinson, is driven by the Sallins Case.
On obtaining a reduced bail, from tens of thousands to one thousand, some weeks later, (now that the bruises had disappeared), a large number of Civil Cases to be heard by jury for assault and battery etc were announced by those tortured.
The Court of Criminal Appeal in the “Madden” Case directs that Appeal Courts should usually accept as a finding of fact anything decided by the Special Criminal Court (SCC) to be a fact.
O’hUadhaigh J., in the District Court throws out DPP Case against Breatnach and all the others on the grounds of failure to present any evidence.
Breatnach, NcNally, Plunkett, and Kelly re-arrested: Barrett not re-arrested. Fitzpatrick declared “missing”. All Four accused brought before the juryless Special Criminal Court and charged.
Front page Irish Times exposé reveals existence of “Garda Heavy Gang” and extensive ill-treatment of prisoners.
Amnesty International sends observers to Ireland and issues report expressing great concern and mentions the matter of garda torture and malpractice in the Special Criminal Court in its 1977 World Report seeking an impartial Inquiry. Fianna Fáil (FF) win landslide general election victory committing to inquiry. In government, an impartial Inquiry is rejected by FF. A three-man committee, chaired by Barra O’Briain J., is established to recommend future safeguards. .All its recommendations are subsequently rejected by Government.
SECOND TRIAL COMMENCES
Juryless trial commences.
Hibernia journalist Niall Kiely reports ‘judge O’Connor J., nodding off’ on 10th., day of – nothing happens.
6 Feb, 1978
Dublin architect and Fine Gael member, Martin Reynolds, observes the same.
Sunday Independent reports a Belgian lawyer has the names of most of the Heavy Gang members ‘…we get special pay..unless we are ordered to stop .. we will continue…’
On the 50th., day of the Trial, Defence SCs Sorohan and McEntee asks the Court to discharge itself on the sleeping judge issue. Court adjourns to back room, returns and refuses application stating the court is fit to continue. It ignores the sleeping judge issue. Art 40 Irish Constitution ‘All citizens shall as human persons be held equal before the law’ goes out the window.
Affidavits to the High Court of the 4 accused, architect Reynolds, Journalist Kiely, and defence solicitors (McCartan and White) swear observing ‘sleeping judge.’ High Court President, Finlay J., refuses Application. Court bound by the finding of fact’ that the SCC court ruled that there was no sleeping judge.
On Appeal, the Supreme Court demands the Affidavits of the solicitors be withdrawn “immediately” and denounce Reynold’s Affidavit.Their Judgment finds ‘the length of delay in making the application is reason enough to deny the appeal… Court feels bound by the “finding of fact”.
Nine judges have now ruled that sleeping Judge O’Connor J., is following all the evidence in due discharge of his duties.
Plunkett shouts in court that O’Connor J., is asleep. Nothing happens.
Hibernia reporter Kiely reports that O’Connor is asleep again. Nothing happens.
Garda Review editorial (published by the Garda Representative Association) alleges Garda Commissioner misleading public. Commissioner moves to indict the entire editorial board. Concerned Gardai send a delegation to Government Minister Garret Fitzgerald who goes to the Taoiseach/ Prime Minister. Complaints about the Heavy Gang are brushed aside.
Trial now the longest in Irish criminal history.
6 June 1978
Judge O’Connor J., dies while preparing to go to Court.
THIRD TRIAL COMMENCES
10 Oct, 1978
Three accused (Breatnach, McNally, Plunkett) plead a State conspiracy: Evidence is given by 50 plus gardai, who heard nothing or saw nothing unusual. Doctors give evidence of injuries to accused, consistent with being assaulted. Garda Commissioner Ned Garvey is sacked amid controversy he was an agent of British Intelligence.
11 Oct, 1978
State witness claims Detective wrote statement in her name ‘identifying’ Plunkett. She denies identifying Plunkett. The court acquits Plunkett.
FORTH TRIAL- trial within a trial
As the case against McNally commences it digresses to a ‘trial within a trial’to determine if the statements signed by the three accused should be admitted in evidence. All accused give evidence of being refused solicitors, of being oppressed and tortured and supply medical evidence to the fact.
26 Oct, 1978:
Breatnach gives evidence of torture and that he contemplated hanging himself to escape his torturers who wanted him to implicate innocent people. Aidan Browne, barrister for the Director of Public Prosecutions gives evidence in support of Osgur, as do doctors.
Kelly gives evidence of torture, supported by medical evidence.
Submissions conclude on 33rd., day of ‘Trial within a Trial.’
1 Dec, 1978
Court rules that
All the statements made by accused were made voluntarily
No torture took place by the police
All injuries were self- inflicted or inflicted with the assistance of other co-accused.
Defence Counsel admonished in Court for expressing surprise at the court’s “reasoning”!
4 Dec, 1978
Trial “proper” commences with opportunity to cross- examine witnesses again: McNally & Kelly give evidence. Breatnach believes, as always, that they will be convicted and refuses to take the stand to repeat his evidence.
Kelly does not appear in court. His whereabouts are unknown. Court decides to, uniquely, try him in abstentia.
Process of Appeals commence. 17-month delay in preparing trial- transcripts as ‘photocopying machine broken.’ Caoilte (brother to Osgur ) escalates international campaign to release men and clear their names. Worldwide human rights groups (eg Amnesty International, International, Commision of Jurists etc) contacted.
27 April 1980
I.R.A. publicly admit responsibility for the robbery declaring all convicted innocent.
12 May, 1980
McNally’s and Breatnach’s Appeals take place before the Court of Criminal Appeal with international observers present. After six day hearing, judgment reserved.
22 May, 1980
Court quashes McNally and Breatnach sentences and convictions declaring statements made by them “not legally admissible” but fails to give its reasons.
THE NICKY KELLY CASE
4 June, 1980
Kelly returns from the U.S. He seeks “extension of time” to lodge an Appeal.
Court of Criminal Appeal refuse extension of time. Refusal appealed to Supreme Court.
Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA) delivers McNally & Breatnach judgment: Gardaí’s accused of oppression and the SCC rebuked. However, no explanation is given as to how the men achieved their injuries in police custody. The CCA refused to interfere with the Court of Trial’s finding that there was no assault by any member of the police- the police are again let off the hook.
Supreme Court overturns the refusal to Kelly and allows ‘full’ Appeal hearing. Findings reserved.
Supreme Court explains grounds for allowing Kelly Appeal to be heard.
Supreme Court reject Kelly’s Appeal.
Release Nicky Kelly Campaign launches international campaign. Osgur processes civil actions for Damages for Kelly and others for assault etc.
Supreme Court asked to overturn CCA’s refusal of Kelly’s appeal against his conviction. Court reserves its judgement.
Supreme Court refuses Kelly appeal. All Kelly’s legal challenge finished. Breatnach treated for nervous breakdown.
Kelly begins a hunger strike
Justice Minister Michael Noonan (FG) says Kelly can’t be released without “new evidence”.
Kelly moved to Curragh Military Hospital.
Irish Commission for Justice & Peace urges Appeal to the European Court of Human Rights
Amnesty International expresses concern to Minister Noonan. Chanel Four TV makes documentary on trad-rock band “Moving Hearts” and Kelly Case.
Kelly’s lawyers initiate appeal to European Commission
Kelly comes off hunger strike after 38 days to allow European appeal to proceed. Government issues statement inviting Kelly to pursue his legal action (thinking it time- blocked.) Local Government Authorities, trade unions and high- profile personalities call for Kelly’s release.
Fitzpatrick comes out of “hiding” and gives press conference. Why was he not re-arrested with the others having signed a statement of involvement? He says he was tortured and forced to incriminate himself and that Gardai always knew where he was. Was it because he had a firm independent alibi (with Barrett)?
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) reviews the entire Sallins Case and rescinds the order to arrest Fitzpatrick, believing he was not involved in the robbery.
Consequently, Kelly’s false statement stating Fitzpatrick was at the robbery was obviously false. As was Fitzpatrick’s statement stating that Kelly was there.
Kelly’s lawyers initiate release Petition to Minister Noonan on “medical grounds”
State argue Kelly shouldn’t be allowed to sue as the issues involved have already been “decided” by the SCC 6 years previously.
European Court rejects Kelly’s Appeal as it was lodged more “than 6 months after final Supreme Court” Rejection (on 29/10/2982)
Minister Noonan tells divided Cabinet he is going to release Kelly on “humanitarian grounds”.
1990, 1991 & 1992
Case raised by Amnesty in Worldwide Reports with concerns about the continued existence of the Special Criminal Court and calling for an Inquiry to be established.
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) make a submission to the Government for an independent Inquiry. Fitzpatrick takes Civil Action before Judge & Jury. DPP’s Review that finds Fitzpatrick was not involved in robbery, is withheld from court. Judge invites jury to consider if Fitzpatrick robbed train. Fitzpatrick case fails and he appeals to Supreme Court.
Government ask Irish President to ‘Pardon’ Kelly and confirms “exoneration” of McNally & Breatnach
Committee formed to press for an Inquiry. Paper published and launched on RTE News.
Osgur appears on Nighthawks RTE TV
31 May, 1993
Osgur interviewed on The Gay Byrne Hour. “Heavy Gang” members issue High Court Contempt of Court Application to jail Gay Byrne. After a number of days, the case is dismissed.
Compensation agreed. Subsequent information exposes fraudulent negotiations. DPP’s Oct 1983 Review secreted from Breatnach, Kelly and McNally.
Breatnach, Kelly and McNally, their families. Amnesty & ICCL continue to call for inquiry.
STATE FRAUD DISCOVERED
Osgur discovers evidence of State fraud in compensation settlement (1993) and Fitzpatrick civil case (1991). Campaign for inquiry relaunched.
6 July, 2019
RTE Doc on One broadcast The Whistleblower . 2 Million views. Winner New York International Radio Award 2020. Winner IMRO 2020 award. Winner Law Society Justice Award. Varied media pre and post programmes interviews and retweets. Prominent patrons secured for the campaign. Renewed inquiry calls secured from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and Amnesty International Ire.
TG4 broadcast of Fínné/ Witness documentary on case. Over 500,00 views. Varied media pre and post programme interviews
Web page sallinsinquirynow.ie launched.Sourcing of Campaign funds initiated. An independent media data base constructed.
Legal representation sourced from international firm KRW-LAW. Endorsement from the Hooded Men (who are being supported by the Irish Government in their search for justice- while obstructing Sallins Men.)
Two Podcasts Being Policed broadcasted. 10,000 views to date. Varied media pre and post programmes interviews and retweets. An extensive and detailed legal petition/s to the Minister for Justice seeking an inquiry being finalised. A political initiative is being organised to surround the eventual presentation of the Petition/s to the Minister. A new book on the inside story of the Sallins Case Out of the Tunnel is being completed by Osgur Breatnach.