Businessman Jim Mansfield Jr (53) pleads not guilty to false imprisonment
James Mansfield Jnr
October 23 2020 06:26 PM
Businessman Jim Mansfield Jnr has pleaded not guilty to charges of false imprisonment and perversion of justice.
Mr Mansfield (53), of Tasaggart House, Garters Lane, Saggart, Co Dublin, is charged with conspiring with one or more persons to falsely imprison Martin Byrne on a date unknown between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2015, both dates inclusive. This is contrary to Section 71 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006.
The Special Criminal Court court heard that Martin Byrne is now in the Witness Protection Programme.
The accused man is also charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice by directing Patrick Byrne to destroy recorded CCTV footage, with the alleged intention of perverting the course of public justice in relation to the false imprisonment of Martin Byrne at Finnstown House Hotel, Newcastle Road, Lucan, Co Dublin between June 9, 2015 and June 12, 2015.
Arraigned on the two charges before the non-jury Special Criminal Court today, Mr Mansfield pleaded not guilty to both counts on the indictment.
Dressed in a navy coloured suit, white shirt and blue tie, Mr Mansfield attended the three-judge court yesterday with three members of his family.
Defence counsel Bernard Condon SC, for Mr Mansfield, informed the court that an employee of Mr Mansfield was isolating as a result of a Covid-19 issue.
Mr Condon said this person, who would ordinarily be in court for the trial, was required by the defence as their knowledge of the issues in the case was very extensive. He said they had not been cleared by their doctors to break their self-isolation and were due a test today. He added that Mr Mansfield had been a close contact of this person and if they tested positive for Covid, he would then have to self-isolate.
Presiding judge Mr Justice Alexander Owens pointed out that Mr Mansfield was represented by a solicitor and counsel in the case and said the employee was not necessary for his defence.
However, Mr Condon argued that the employee had been “intimately involved in his business and affairs over many years”.
In reply, the judge said that this did not give the employee an entitlement to be in the proceedings. Mr Condon asked the court to be “at least receptive” to his client’s position and explained that the employee may be a defence witness in the case. Mr Justice Owens said this individual would not be entitled to be present in court during the trial if they were a defence witness.
“[They] would be unless the court ruled otherwise,” replied the barrister.
Mr Justice Owens, sitting with Judge Sinead Ni Chulachain and Judge James Faughnan, remanded the accused man on continuing bail to appear before the court again on Tuesday morning. The trial is expected to last three weeks.