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Hackney murder charge at risk of being struck out

THE State was yesterday given a deadline of five weeks to prepare a book of evidence in the case of a 52-year-old man charged with the murder of hackney driver, Liam Moloney, or face the prospect of having the charge struck out.

Anthony Kelly (52) of Emlagh na Muck, Emlagh More, Waterville, Co Kerry, made his sixth appearance at Ennis District Court yesterday in relation to being charged with the murder of the 56-year-old father of four at Portlecka, Ruan, Co Clare, on February 11.

Solicitor for Mr Kelly, Pat O'Connor, told Judge Terence Finn yesterday that Mr Kelly - a native of Ruan - has been on remand at Cork prison since February 25 when he first appeared in court in relation to the charge.

Mr O'Connor said: "He has appeared in court on a number of occasions and I expressed concern at the last court date on April 20 over the length of time it was taking the State to produce a book of evidence.

He added: "Mr Kelly has no prospect of securing bail as he has no one willing to lodge bail and he has no place to reside. Apart from no possibility of securing bail, Mr Kelly is also suffering from health problems. . . . Mr Kelly travels from Cork prison for each court appearance and finds this an ordeal."

Mr O'Connor requested that any adjournment in the case be the last and that the service of a book of evidence be made peremptory against the State - this means if the State cannot produce the book of evidence by the date laid down by the court, the charge will be struck out, though the gardai have the option of re-arresting the accused.

In response, State solicitor Martin Linnane said: "The book of evidence is very substantial. It has involved a very lengthy investigation . . . I will endeavour to have the book of evidence before the court in the next four to six weeks."

Mr Kelly was remanded in custody to Corofin District Court to June 15 and it was made peremptory against the State to have the book of evidence in the case prepared for Ennis District Court for June 24.

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