A Swiss undercover agent involved in a drug trafficking investigation was forbidden to travel to Ireland because his anonymity and safety could not be guaranteed, a trial has heard.
The agent was giving evidence in the trial of a man accused of soliciting two undercover gardaí to travel to Brazil to collect cocaine and bring it back into Ireland.
Sunny Idah (aged 36) with an address at Gerard House, Brown Street, London has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two charges of soliciting another person to unlawfully import cocaine on dates between September 14 and 19, 2010.
The jury heard earlier that under a law known as The Mutual Assistance Act, the prosecution and defence teams went to Geneva last December where an undercover agent for the Swiss Police gave evidence of the operation he had been involved in with An Garda Síochána.
During his testimony, the agent was not identified and gave evidence from behind one-way glass.
The cross-examination section of the agent’s testimony was read out today by prosecuting counsel, Colm O’Briain BL.
In the transcript, defence counsel, Padraig Dwyer SC, asks the agent why he didn’t come to Ireland to give his evidence.
The agent said that he had orders from his superiors not to travel to Ireland because his safety and anonymity could not be guaranteed. Mr Dwyer asked him why the evidence couldn’t be given by video link. The witness replied that this would also not have protected his identity.
When counsel asked him why he couldn’t give evidence by video link from behind a partition, the agent replied that this idea was not discussed with his superiors.
The agent told counsel he had “a certain amount” of experience in undercover work. He said he had been playing an undercover role in drug and human trafficking cases for the previous 10 years.
Earlier the jury heard that the agent assumed the identity of a known Lithuanian drug dealer and allegedly used this identity to communicate with the accused.
The agent refused to tell defence counsel if he had ever met the Lithuanian whose identity he used. He said this was for “security reasons” as the information could narrow down the agent’s identity.
The trial was adjourned early because a juror has to attend his daughter’s birthday party. It will continue tomorrow before Judge Desmond Hogan and a jury of three women and eight men.