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KEANE KILLERS SET TO APPEAL; EXCLUSIVE Convictions for Limerick feud hitmen are unsafe say lawyers.


THE five men found guilty of the murder of crime boss Kieran Keane are appealing their convictions, the Irish Mirror has learned.

The five Limerick hitmen were caged for life last Christmas for the brutal abduction and killing - and for trying to murder Keane's nephew Owen Treacy.

But lawyers claim the convictions are unsafe because they were based almost completely on Treacy's evidence.

Solicitor John Devane, who represents one of the men, Dessie Dundon, told the Mirror: "There are 42 grounds of appeal in total.

"The weight of the evidence from the prosecution side came from one witness [Treacy]."

He claimed:

THAT proper directions were not given to the jury in respect of how they should treat that evidence

THAT other grounds relate to adverse publicity surrounding the trial, and

THAT the judge failed and refused to give proper directions to the jury in relation to reading of news- papers and listening to radio and television broadcasts.

Keane's battered body was found in a laneway in Bushy Island, Limerick, in January last year.

It was thought he was tortured before being executed with a single bullet in the back of the head with his hands tied behind him.

He was murdered as the gangland war reached a bloody climax in the city. The killers then stabbed Treacy 17 times and fled thinking he too was dead - but he survived to give evidence against the men.

Central Criminal Court judge Paul Carney jailed Dundon, David "Frog Eyes" Stanners, James McCarthy, Christopher "Smokey" Costello and Anthony "Noddy" McCarthy.

The appeals, to be consolidated into one hearing, could be held in the Court of Criminal Appeal next April or May.

The new law term begins this October and a date for a hearing is expected to be fixed then.

Mr Devane told the Mirror yesterday: "The jury had access to national newspapers and TV coverage.

"In total, I have 42 separate grounds for my client's appeal alone.

"The judge failed to stop the adverse publicity.

"You have other standard grounds where my client denies being at the scene of the alleged kidnap and he gave evidence to the extent he was not there.

"The best case scenario might be the ordering of a retrial and I would be optimistic for my own client."

The Limerick feud - which started out as a rift between two families - escalated into a spiral of tit-for-tat violence, resulting in four deaths in three years.

The backdrop to the feud was the relationship between two gangland bosses who controlled the lucrative drugs trade in the 1990s.

Christy Keane from St Mary's Park - Kieran Keane's older brother - was the drugs boss and his enforcer was Eddie Ryan.

Together they operated a lucrative drugs empire dealing in ecstasy, amphetamines and hash as well as small quantities of cocaine.

Christy Keane's drugs business continued to prosper until his relationship with Ryan soured following a relatively minor dispute between Ryan's brother John and a close friends of the Keanes.


JAILED: From left, James McCarthy, Anthony "Noddy" McCarthy, Christopher "Smokey" Costello, Dessie Dundon and David "Frog Eyes" Stanners; VICTIMS: Kieran Keane and, right, his nephew Owen Treacy
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 28, 2004
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