Aaron Brady to face non-jury Special Criminal Court over alleged witness plot

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Aaron Brady To Face Non-Jury Special Criminal Court Over Alleged Witness Plot Aaron Brady To Face Non-Jury Special Criminal Court Over Alleged Witness Plot
Aaron Brady (31) and his alleged accomplice Dean Byrne are charged with conspiring to persuade a key State witness not to testify during Brady's trial for murdering Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe
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Tom Tuite

Convicted Garda killer Aaron Brady will stand trial in the non-jury Special Criminal Court accused of plotting to pervert the course of justice.

Brady (31) and his alleged accomplice Dean Byrne are charged with conspiring to persuade a key State witness not to testify during his trial for murdering Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe. Gardaí served the pair with books of evidence on Friday.

Brady of New Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, had denied murder for the fatal shooting of Detective Garda Donohoe during a robbery at Lordship Credit Union in Co Louth on January 25th, 2013. However, he was handed a life sentence after being found guilty by a Central Criminal Court jury in August 2020.

Following a Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) probe, Brady and two others were charged on April 4th with other offences.

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Brady is accused of conspiring with Dean Byrne at Mountjoy Prison to persuade Daniel Cahill, a prosecution witness in his trial, not to give evidence, to pervert the course of public justice, between April 8th and June 22nd, 2020.

During the trial, which ran from January to August that year, Mr Cahill testified that he overheard Brady say he shot a garda.

Second charge

Brady also faces a second charge that on a date unknown between February 20th and May 7th, 2020, he video-recorded the playing of a video-recorded witness interview between Ronan Flynn and gardaí, thus embarking upon a course to pervert the course of public justice.

The offences can, on conviction, result in unlimited fines and jail sentences.

The case resumed before Judge Victor Blake at Cloverhill District on Friday, with Brady appearing via video link from Portlaoise Prison having consented to a solicitor accepting service of the prosecution’s book of evidence on his behalf.

State solicitor Michelle Sheeran told Judge Victor Blake that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had decided the ordinary courts were not suitable for the administration of justice in this case under Section 46 of the Offences Against the State Act. She asked the judge to grant a return for trial order to a sitting of a Special Criminal Court.

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Judge Blake agreed to grant the order for trial in the Special Criminal Court and the same trial venue order was made for co-accused Dean Byrne, who also appeared via video link.

Detective Sergeant Frank Treacy handed over the book of evidence to solicitor Fergal Boyle, who acted as an agent for Brady's solicitor Peter Corrigan and Detective Garda Kevin Lawless served his book of evidence on Byrne's solicitor, John Feeney.

Judge Blake told them they would be notified when a date for their appearance in the Special Criminal Court had been set and warned them to inform the prosecution if they intended to use alibis in their defence.

The judge granted legal aid and ordered gardaí to provide defence lawyers with copies of interview videos.

Previously, the court heard that Brady and Byrne (29) from Cabra Park, Phibsborough, Dublin, made no reply when charged.

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It was alleged a contraband phone was recovered from a cell in Mountjoy Prison with five recovered WhatsApp exchanges.

There were message threads and voice and audio messages to an anonymous contact with threats and offers to intimidate Mr Cahill. Gardaí allege that Byrne was a "conduit" between Brady and others.

The third defendant, Glen Holland of Rory O’Connor House, Hardwicke Street, Dublin 1, was charged with unlawful possession of a mobile phone in prison from August 7th-28th, 2020. However, his case is to be dealt with at District Court level.

Holland will appear next week at Dublin District Court to enter a plea.

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