Wrongful conviction for violent disorder in bookmaker declared miscarriage of justice

Declan Tynan (33) spent 11 months in jail after being wrongly identified as person involved in fracas in Ladbrokes branch in Tallaght

A Dublin man who spent 11 months in jail after being wrongly identified in relation to a violent incident at a bookmakers – only for his conviction to be quashed when another man came forward – was the victim of a miscarriage of justice, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

The court noted that a comparison by the UK’s Met Police of photos of the appellant, Declan Tynan, and the man who claims to be the guilty party, analysed alongside stills from the bookmakers, confirmed Mr Tynan’s innocence, along with other factors.

Declan Tynan (33), of Vincent Street Flats, Dublin 8, had always maintained his innocence in relation to alleged violent disorder at Ladbrokes bookmakers in Killinarden, Tallaght on December 13th, 2012.

The prosecution’s case was that Mr Tynan was one of three men who burst into the bookmakers on the day in question and set upon a customer standing in the middle of the shop as part of a feud.


One of the attackers had a short blade and began stabbing the man repeatedly. When the victim’s brother tried to intervene, the group of men turned on him. Neither this person nor his brother was willing to co-operate with the investigation and there were never any medical reports obtained, nor a victim impact report produced.

Two of the attackers had pleaded guilty by the time Mr Tynan, who pleaded not guilty, faced trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Mr Tynan’s barrister at trial, Eoghan Cole BL, said this was a “one witness case” in which the only evidence against his client was the purported visual identification of him by a garda from the bookies’ CCTV. A jury found Mr Tynan guilty and he was sentenced to four years imprisonment with the final year suspended by Judge Patricia Ryan on January 13th, 2017.

Mr Tynan then sought to appeal his conviction focusing on the “perils of visual identification”. However, the three-judge Court of Appeal dismissed his application and affirmed his conviction.

However, after the rejected appeal, Tynan’s senior counsel, Michael O’Higgins, told the Court of Appeal that someone else had “come forward” in relation to the attack.

This person had provided a statement claiming he was the third person involved in the attack, Mr O’Higgins said.

The case returned to the Court of Appeal in April 2018 where Tynan’s conviction was quashed under Section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993.

At the Court of Appeal on Friday, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said the court would grant Mr Tynan a certificate of miscarriage of justice.

Mr Justice McCarthy said that the core issue in the case was the process of identification made by gardaí and that there had been “a want of material regarding disclosure that could have been of use to the defence in testing the reliability of the identification”.

Mr Justice McCarthy noted that Mr Tynan had asserted his innocence and that “a third party came forward, saying he was one of the miscreants at the bookmakers and not the appellant”.

Mr Justice McCarthy said that a subsequent evaluation by the Met Police in the UK of photos of the appellant and the man who claims to be the guilty party, analysed alongside stills from the bookmakers, confirmed Mr Tynan’s innocence.

“No criticism is to be made of the gardaí in the manner of the investigation but we do believe a certificate should be granted. The proof is that he [Mr Tynan] was actually innocent,” said Mr Justice McCarthy, who added that the opinion of the identifying garda was “honestly held and in good faith”.

Mr Justice McCarthy said that the court could not make a finding that the appellant is innocent on his evidence alone but there was sufficient credibility for the request of the certificate when the independent, “factually expert” evidence of the Met Police was considered in addition to the other factors in the case.

Mr Justice McCarthy said that without the Met Police’s expert opinion, the testimony of Mr Tynan, the infirmities in the identification evidence and the claim made by the other man, the civil standard required for a certificate would not have been met.

The miscarriage of justice was “not in controversy” in Mr Tynan’s case, said Mr Justice McCarthy, who then granted the certificate.