Fred Flannery was born in 1959 at 16 St. Joseph's Park, Mayfield, Cork City; brother of Michael and twin John.
Described by press reporters as 5' 4" tall and slightly built, he was a friend of three men (Kevin Ball, Cathal O'Brien and Denis "Patch" O’Driscoll) who lived at 9 Wellington Road, Cork in 1994. The men disappeared. Fred was eventually charged with the murder of one of the men (Patch O’Driscoll) in late December 1994, although no body had been found.
At the trial in June 1996, the Judge (Justice Robert Barr) concluded that the Gardaí (under Mayfield Superintendent Patrick J. Brennan) deliberately withheld statements from witnesses that were favourable to the accused. He threw out the case and despite attempts by several TDs and the State Solicitor in Cork to have the murder trial re-entered for hearing, it was not within the law to have this done since it was ruled that Fred (defended by Patrick MacEntee SC) would not get a fair trial. In the words of the judge, Supt. Patrick J. Brennan and his investigating team "consistently and deliberately resorted to a policy the objective of which was to deprive the accused of his constitutional right to a fair trial in accordance with the law".
A month after the abandoned trial, the body of Patch O’Driscoll was located buried in a wood in Glanmire, County Cork. He was identified by a false eye and steel plate inserted in his jaw after a road traffic accident. The doctor who performed the operation came from Glasgow and gave evidence at an inquest which was held to identify the body, so that £80,000 could be paid out to the relatives, being the amount allowed by the insurance company for the loss of an eye in said accident.
Fred was not convicted, and is accordingly deemed to be innocent of the alleged crime.
On 20th March 2002, John O'Donoghue, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, reported to Dáil Éireann in respect of Garda investigations into Garda conduct cases, and noted "The Fred Flannery Case: Arising from the comments of the trial judge in this case the then Garda Commissioner appointed a chief superintendent to examine and investigate the alleged misconduct by members of An Garda Síochána. The chief superintendent's report was submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who directed that no action was warranted in respect of any members of An Garda Síochána involved."
Fred died on 16th May 2003 at his home in Carrigaline, County Cork, where he lived with his partner Kathleen Mannix and their three children.
[his portrait is illustrated above; courtesy of the "Irish Independent" newspaper (29th October 2003)]