Garda killer Brady was 'enhanced' prisoner during alleged conspiracy to pervert course of justice

Garda Killer Brady Was 'Enhanced' Prisoner During Alleged Conspiracy To Pervert Course Of Justice
The Special Criminal Court was told Aaron Brady was granted access to a laptop during his trial for the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe to allow him to review his book of evidence. Photo: Collins
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Dean Byrne

Aaron Brady, who murdered Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe, was an enhanced prisoner in Mountjoy, with unique access to a laptop, when he is alleged to have conspired with another inmate to prevent a witness giving evidence at Brady's trial, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Prison officer Pat Ferris told the trial of Dean Byrne, Brady's alleged conspirator, that he knew Brady as a prisoner in 2020.


The witness told prosecution counsel Lorcan Staines SC that Brady was housed in the D-wing on the basement floor, an area reserved for prisoners who enjoy special privileges for good behaviour.

The trial previously heard that Mr Byrne was on a different floor of the same wing.

Mr Ferris explained those in the basement would have jobs or attend education courses, and have more freedom to move around. They also receive extra phone calls and would get extra money for the tuck shop.

He said Brady was in Cell 20, a single-occupancy cell in the basement of the D-wing.


The court heard Brady was a volunteer with the Red Cross, and in that role would sometimes bring leaflets to the cells on all four landings of the D-wing.

Mr Ferris told defence counsel Padraig Dwyer SC that he could not recall if Brady carried out a leaflet drop in April or May 2020.


Deputy governor of Mountjoy Prison, John Quinn, recalled that during Brady's trial the court ordered that the prison provide Brady with access to a laptop to allow him to review his book of evidence.

This was the first time that had happened, he explained, so the prison developed a protocol whereby Brady could use the laptop only when he was locked into his cell on his own. The laptop did not have access to the internet, the court heard.


In late March 2020, the prison went into lockdown due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

Enhanced prisoner duties were suspended during this time, Mr Quinn said, but Red Cross volunteers were still allowed to do leaflet drops because that provided a way to communicate without direct contact.

In August 2020, Brady (33), formerly of New Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, was convicted by a jury of the murder of Det Gda Donohoe during a robbery at Lordship Credit Union in Co Louth on January 25th, 2013.

He was due to be tried with Mr Byrne, but before the trial started, Brady pleaded guilty to the charge that on a date between February 20th and May 7th, 2020, within the State, he embarked on a course of conduct intended to pervert the course of justice.


Brady accepted that he was responsible for recording a video of witness Ronan Flynn giving a statement to gardaí that later appeared on social media accusing Mr Flynn of "touting".

Dean Byrne (30), from Cabra Park, Phibsborough, Dublin, is on trial accused of conspiring with Brady in Mountjoy Prison between April 8th and June 22nd, 2020, to persuade prosecution witness Daniel Cahill not to give evidence at Brady's murder trial, a course of conduct with had a tendency to and which was intended to pervert the course of justice.

He has pleaded not guilty to the single charge.

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