Central Criminal Court
The prosecution has today finished its evidence in the trial of Aaron Brady who denies murdering Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe during an armed raid on a rural credit union.
The trial at the Central Criminal Court began in January but the jury did not sit for several weeks after the covid-19 lockdown began. Trial judge Mr Justice Michael White opted to continue and when the jury returned in May the courtroom had been set up to allow for social distancing and restrictions were placed on the number of people who could be in court at any time.
When the jury was sworn it had 15 members as it was anticipated that the trial would take some months and Mr Justice White wanted extra jurors in case some had to bow out. Two have bowed out, one because of concerns related to covid-19.
Today Mr Justice White told the remaining 13 that he must deal with issues in their absence and does not require them again until Monday morning.
Aaron Brady (28) from New Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh has pleaded not guilty to the capital murder of Det Gda Adrian Donohoe who was then a member of An Garda Siochana on active duty on January 25, 2013 at Lordship Credit Union, Bellurgan, Co Louth. Mr Brady has also pleaded not guilty to a charge of robbing approximately e7,000 in cash and assorted cheques on the same date and at the same location.
On the final day of evidence Detective Inspector Mark Phillips of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) told defence counsel Michael O'Higgins SC that last September he received a report from Yonkers Police Department in New York. It related to the detention of one of the witnesses in the trial, Daniel Cahill, who spoke to gardai at Yonkers precinct on July 25 last year after being detained by Homeland Security. Mr Cahill has given evidence that the accused told him on three occasions that he shot a garda.
Det Insp Phillips agreed that the report mentions that steroids were found at Mr Cahill's home when Homeland Security went there to speak to him on July 25 last year. He further agreed that the first time the defence became aware of this was when
Special Agent Mary Ann Wade of Homeland Security mentioned it during her second day of cross examination last week. He said that when he heard the special agent's evidence it "rang a bell" and so he sought out the report. He also agreed that the prosecution accepts that this report should have been disclosed to the defence.
The report states that officers from Homeland Security called to Mr Cahill's home because they wished to speak to him. When they arrived Mr Cahill's wife told them he was not there and allowed officers to search the premises to find out if she was telling the truth. During the search they found what they suspected to be a small cannabis growing operation and later found
Mr Cahill in the attic. An unstated quantity of steroids was also found.
According to the report Mr Cahill agreed to speak to Homeland Security and therefore went to Yonkers precinct where, the trial has previously heard, he gave a statement to gardai. Mr O'Higgins said this was contrary to Special Agent Wade's evidence that he was brought to the precinct in handcuffs because of the suspected presence of steroids in the apartment. The report concludes that the district attorney decided not to file charges in relation to the suspected cannabis or the steroids.
Following cross examination of Det Insp Phillips counsel for the prosecution Brendan Grehan SC told the jury: "That is the end of the prosecution case."
Mr Justice White asked the jury to return on Monday for the next stage of the trial.