KINAHAN CARTEL: Thomas 'Bomber' Kavanagh eyeing 'deal' with CPS over basis of plea before sentence
KINAHAN Cartel lieutenant Thomas 'Bomber' Kavanagh's defence team is in talks with the CPS to negotiate a "deal" to avoid a lengthy Newton Hearing.
Irish nationals Kavanagh, 53, (pictured above), Gary Vickery, 38, and Daniel Canning, 42, pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court last July to conspiring to import class A and B drugs, and money laundering, following a major four-year National Crime Agency (NCA) and Garda investigation into the cartel.
Canning also admitted possessing a firearm and ammunition.
They are said by the Irish Criminal Assets Bureau to be part of the international Kinahan drugs Cartel, which began in Ireland, but is now run from Dubai.
Their case was up for mention today at the same court, when the judge was told he may not have to preside over a Newton hearing.
These hearings happen where the defence and prosecution offer such conflicting evidence that a judge sitting alone tries to work out which party is telling the truth before sentence.
Judge Martyn Levett told the court today, April 8 2021, that there had been issues concerning disclosure of evidence with the case.
He said "In August we are due to deal with the Newton hearing - a disclosure matter is outstanding that may be of some substance to whatever negotiations have been taking place or are due to take place to avoid the Newton hearing."
Richard Furlong, representing Canning, said: "We are still in negotiations, but Mr Kavanagh's team is leading the negotiations and are really guided by them in terms of resolving matters, so I defer to Mr Scobie."
James Scobie. defending Kavanagh, spoke for all three defendants.
He said: "I am very confident that following a conference with my client on April 15, we will be looking, with the co-accused to come to an agreement with the prosecution as to the basis of our pleas, which will avoid any Newton hearing and we will avoid cause any further delay or uncertainty regarding a Newton trial, which will be - music to your honour's ears.
"All sorts of negotiations have been going on and I am grateful for the Crown."
Judge Levett said that he had refused a bail application from Kavanagh, who is already in Dovegate Prison after being jailed in 2019 to a three-year sentence for possessing a stun gun disguised as a torch, which was discovered during a raid on his mansion, and kept him in custody after completing half the sentence.
He said: "It is music to my ears that we might have to avoid a disclosure argument that may take up to a day and to avoid a Newton hearing, but I am keeping an open mind bearing in mind Mr Scobie still needs to have his conference (with Kavanagh)."
Daniel Canning (left) and Vickery (NCA)
He added that sentencing will not take place before August - more than a year after the guilty please, as revealed by Essex News and Investigations this week.
The case has been dogged by delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, a growing court backlog and travel restrictions as Canning has been allowed to stay on bail in Ireland and Vickery is on bail in Spain, despite the serious nature of their convictions and facing up to life in prison.
The Irish Criminal Assets Bureau describes Kavanagh as the most senior member of the Kinahan organised crime group in the UK.
Before being jailed he was running activities from the secure mansion, complete with bullet-proof glass, in Tamworth, Staffordshire.
His brother in law is Liam Byrne, who runs the Kinahan’s Irish operations and was the brother of David Byrne who was shot dead in the 2016 Dublin Regency Hotel shooting as part of the feud with the Hutch gang.
An underworld source told Essex News and Investigations that he is convinced that a deal is being thrashed out to lessen their sentences.
After the guilty pleas NCA deputy director of investigations Matt Horne said: "Today’s guilty pleas are the culmination of a four-year investigation into Thomas Kavanagh and his co-conspirators, who were part of a significant international crime network, capable of organising multimillion pound shipments of drugs.
“We have worked throughout with our colleagues at An Garda Síochána, and I hope these convictions send out a strong message to others who may think themselves to be untouchable. “We will be relentless in our pursuit of those involved in organised criminality.”