Ronan tiger kidnapping case to be heard in Dublin

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Kilkenny Advertiser, February 10, 2012.

By Naoise Coogan

The case involving the kidnapping of former Kilkenny hurler Adrian Ronan and his family will now be heard in Dublin and not in Kilkenny as originally expected.

This week a judge ruled that it would be ‘manifestly unjust’ for the case involving Stephen Freeman of 3 Balcurris Gardens, Ballymun, who has been charged with the false imprisonment of former county hurler Adrian Ronan, to be heard in Kilkenny.

On Wednesday afternoon an application was put before Judge Alice Doyle to have the case moved to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court rather than have the case heard at the current sittings of the Kilkenny Circuit Criminal Court, by the barrister for Freeman.

Freeman is charged with false imprisonment of the Ronan family at Ballyhendricken, Ballycallan, on November 3 2009 and of attempted theft and possession of a firearm at the same location on the same date.

In her application to have the case moved to Dublin, Freeman’s barrister told the court the alleged injured party is a well known hurler with two All-Ireland titles, three Leinster titles, and a National Hurling League title.

She pointed out that everyone in Kilkenny would know Mr Ronan and she told the judge that she did not believe that Freeman would get a fair trial in Kilkenny. She added that to date, this case had received ‘media saturation’.

Eleven people, six men and five women, were arrested following the tiger kidnapping and attempted robbery of €3m from the Bank of Ireland on Parliament St in Kilkenny city where Adrian Ronan was a bank official.

Mr Ronan was threatened that he might not see his wife again if he did not comply with the raiders’ request. However the bank was unable to deliver upon the request due to timelock delays. On hearing this the gang absconded and released Mrs Ronan from where they had her held at an old weather station on the Granges Road.

Judge Alice Doyle ruled that the case be moved to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. She said that it would be ‘manifestly unjust’ for the case to be heard in Kilkenny because of the profile of the people involved.

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