30 May 2006

Expert confident fingerprint is that of IRA accused

Irish Examiner

30/05/2006 - 2:59:15 PM

A fingerprint expert has told the trial of a Dublin man charged with membership of the IRA that he is happy beyond any doubt that a fingerprint mark left in a van, in which gardaí found a handgun, was made by the accused.

Detective Garda Eamon Hennelly, who said he has 23 years experience in the identification of finger marks, was giving evidence in the trial of Vincent Kelly (aged 21) of Empress Place, Ballybough, Dublin, who has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on June 7, 2005.

Det Garda Hennelly told Mr Tom O’Connell SC, prosecuting, that he received a fingerprint mark labelled PN23 and some writing, indicating it had come from the left body section of the boot of a van.

He said he formed the opinion that the mark lifted from the van, which he identified as having a 2000 Laois registered number plate compared with the left ring finger impression on the fingerprint form bearing the name Vincent Kelly.

“As a result of the comparison I am happy beyond any doubt that both marks were made by one and the same person, namely Vincent Kelly,” he told the court.

The witness told Mr Diarmaid McGuinness SC, defending, that he had only made one fingerprint identification involving Mr Kelly.

At the conclusion of today's hearing Mr O’Connell said he only had one more witness to call for the prosecution but he said she was currently on her way back from Indonesia to Ireland.

“I hope she can get out,” he said.

The three-judge court accepted she was an important witness and the trial was adjourned until tomorrow

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