Central Criminal Court
A witness in the trial of Aaron Brady, who denies the capital murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe, has said she was "peer pressured" into lying to police about the accused's whereabouts on the night of the fatal shooting because she knew he was under curfew at the time. Jade Fitzpatrick today told the Central Criminal Court trial that she "thought better of it" the following day and went to a police station to correct her statement.
She said she didn't tell the truth initially because she knew Mr Brady was on bail for various matters before Dundalk Circuit Court and she wanted to "keep him in compliance with his curfew."
Under cross-examination Ms Fitzpatrick told defence counsel Michael O'Higgins SC that when she did see Mr Brady that night he did not seem worried or preoccupied. She agreed that he was usually "cheeky and cheerful and outgoing" and she noticed nothing odd in his behaviour.
Mr Brady (29) from New Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh has pleaded not guilty to the capital murder of Det Gda Donohoe (41) who was then a member of An Garda Siochana on active duty shortly before 9.30pm on January 25, 2013 at Lordship Credit Union, Bellurgan, Co Louth. Mr Brady has also pleaded not guilty to a charge of robbing approximately €7,000 in cash and assorted cheques on the same date and at the same location.
Ms Fitzpatrick told Brendan Grehan SC for the Prosecution that on January 25, 2013, when she was 18, her father dropped her to her friend Jessica King's house on Concession Road in Armagh where she was to stay for the night. In her first statement, she said she told the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) that she arrived about 19.00 and went to Ms King's bedroom.
She said Mr Brady, who had been going out with Ms King since the previous summer, arrived at about 19.30 or 20.00.
Ms Fitzpatrick remembered that Mr Brady was dropped off by his friend, a man the prosecution has named as a suspect for the robbery at Lordship but who can't be identified for legal reasons. In that first statement, made on January 26, 2013, she said Mr Brady went home at about 21.30.
The following day she went back to the PSNI because, she said, she wanted to change her statement. In her second statement she said she did not arrive at Jessica's until 21.30 and Mr Brady arrived between 22.30 and 23.30. She told Mr Grehan: "That was the truth." Mr Brady left at 3am, she added, when he was picked up by the same friend who had dropped him off earlier in his BMW. Asked by Mr Grehan why she initially said Mr Brady arrived earlier she said Jessica King asked her to and added: "It was peer pressure in regards to his curfew at the time." She agreed that she "thought better of it" the next day.
The witness agreed with Mr O'Higgins for the defence that when she initially told police Mr Brady was gone by 21.30 she did so to "keep him in compliance with his curfew." She said she knew he was before Dundalk Circuit Court and as part of his bail conditions he had to be home by a certain time every night.
She agreed that Mr Brady was usually "cheeky, cheerful and outgoing" and there was "nothing odd" in his behaviour that night. He did not appear to be "preoccupied, worried or anxious", she said.
Gillian Burns told Mr Grehan that she worked at McCaughey's service station, shop and deli in Broomfield, Co Monaghan in 2013. She knew Mr Brady as a "regular enough customer" and she also knew that he was from Crossmaglen and was going out with Jessica King. On Friday January 25, 2013 she saw Mr Brady and two other men having breakfast at the deli counter at 12.34pm when she clocked out for her lunch. She said hello to Mr Brady and he said hello back. Ms Burns had her lunch, went for a cigarette and Mr Brady and the two men were still in the deli when she came back. Two of the group bought water and sweets before they left some time after 1pm.
The trial continues in front of Justice Michael White and a jury of eight men and seven women.