The Bray Boxing Club murder trial has heard from a number of witnesses who encountered a van that the prosecution contend was used in the fatal attack that morning.
A Dublin Bus driver told the jury on Tuesday that he saw "a grey or silver Caddy van" travelling "at speed" on the morning of the shooting and it had nearly collided with his vehicle.
Gerard Cervi (34), from the East Wall area of Dublin 3, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Bobby Messett (50) at Pete Taylor's Bray Boxing Club, Bray Harbour, Bray, Co Wicklow during an early morning fitness session on June 5th, 2018. Mr Cervi also denies the attempted murder of Mr Taylor and Ian Britton on the same occasion.
Father-of-three Mr Messett died from a single gunshot wound to the head as he took part in the fitness class that morning.
Bicycle in van
It is the State's case that Mr Cervi was the gunman and that he was later seen with a bicycle and in a van at Pigeon House Road in Ringsend after the shooting over three years ago.
Several gym goers have given evidence that a man wearing a yellow high-vis jacket and a hard hat had opened fire on the fitness class in the boxing club at Bray Harbour.
In his opening address, prosecution counsel Paul Murray said that gardai had "a starting point" for the van used in the shooting at Bray Harbour, a "midpoint" for the van at Cabinteely and an "end point" for the van at Pigeon House. "The prosecution say that not only was Mr Cervi the man on the bike, not only was he the man in the van but that he was also the man who entered Bray Boxing Club just before 7am that morning and carried out the shooting," he indicated.
Detective Sergeant Mark Collander, who is attached to the ballistics section of An Garda Siochana, gave evidence today that he examined nine discharged cartridge cases and two discharged bullets retrieved from the boxing club on June 5th.
The witness said he put one of the discharged cartridges into a ballistics identification system to examine the discharged ammunition and found that the firearm used in the shooting had no known history in the jurisdiction.
Det Sgt Collander said all nine discharged cartridge cases came from the same semi-automatic Glock pistol, which was never recovered.
Silver VW Caddy
Milkman Peter Lee testified that he made deliveries to The Harbour Bar in Bray at 6.30am on the morning of June 5th and parked outside the bar. When he got out of his truck, Mr Lee said a silver Volkswagen Caddy passed him and it was going in the direction of Bray Boxing club. After he came out of the Harbour Bar having made his delivery, the witness said he saw the same van "coming back out" and noted it had yellow registration plates. "I didn't see where it went, I just know it left the harbour area," he added.
Dublin Bus driver Michael Fox told Mr Murray that his bus route took him along the beach on the morning of June 5th and he made a stop at Bray Road to let people onto the bus. After 15 people or more boarded the bus, Mr Fox said he got ready to move the bus and checked his rearview mirror twice. "I saw this grey or silver van on the outside of the bus and I saw it was going to collide into my bus and I pulled the bus back in and pulled the handbrake [sic]," he said.
Mr Fox said the van went past the bus "at speed" and when he got through the traffic lights at Bray bridge he saw the vehicle was on the wrong side of the road on Castle Street. When the van went ahead of him, Mr Fox said it was like a "Caddy van" and he noticed the yellow registration plates with black writing. He said the driving appeared "very fast" to him. He heard on Radio Nova that morning that there had been a shooting in Bray and a call out for "anyone who had seen a grey or silver van".
Trish Smith said she lived on a small cul-de-sac on Willow Grove in Cornelscourt and was walking home from the gym at 7.04am on June 5, when she saw a silver van approach the top of the estate, come to a stop and turn onto Bray Road. She memorised the full registration plate number beginning with DFZ until she got home and then recorded it in her phone which was in her house. She formed a view from the registration plates that the vehicle was from Northern Ireland.
Ms Smith said the dark-haired man in the van was in his thirties, looked tanned, might have had some stubble and was wearing a high-vis jacket and sunglasses. He was four to five metres away from her and the only person in the van.
Under cross-examination, the witness agreed with Anne-Marie Lawlor SC, defending Mr Cervi, that she had seen the driver of the van for "a second" and thought he had stubble but it "could have just easily been a tanned face".
Addressing the jury this evening, Mr Justice Michael White said that it had previously been indicated to them that there would be a substantial period of time when matters were dealt with in their absence. "That will start tomorrow and it will run until July 28 and it could run a little bit later," said the judge, adding that he did not require their presence until then and they would be notified if there was a further delay.