A senior Garda has told a murder trial that the main witness in the case, who told gardaí of an alleged “confession” the accused man made to him, may have been under the impression that he was suspected of involvement.
Defence lawyers for Angelo O'Riordan (aged 23), who denies murdering Aidan Myers in Dundalk nearly four years ago, say that the prosecution's main witness has fabricated this alleged “confession” to get himself out of difficulty.
Senior defence counsel, Mr Padraig Dwyer SC, says that the witness, Daniel Mulholland (aged 23), only told gardaí about this conversation, after they told him he was at risk of being charged with the murder.
In his evidence to the Central Criminal Court, Detective Sergeant Brian Mohan said that Mr Mulholland was arrested in December 2007, on suspicion of withholding information about Mr Myers death on December 13, 2006.
It was during these interviews with gardaí that Mr Mulholland told them of a conversation he had with O'Riordan, on the morning after 37-year-old Mr Myers was allegedly attacked.
He said O'Riordan admitted that he had been out hijacking cars, when a scuffle broke out with two men, and he “ended up” running over one of them.
Mr Mulholland said O'Riordan was pale and physically shaky when he told him he could hear the man screaming, but he just kept going.
The witness also said his friend told him one of his brothers had struck the other man with a machete, and another of his brothers had gone to Drogheda to burn out the car.
During these interviews with Mr Mulholland, Gardaí repeatedly told him they had information that he was at the scene of these events at Faughart on the night in question.
They said they suspected he had used a machete on another man's legs.
They told him another man had been arrested in connection with the alleged murder, and asked if wanted to “be with that man standing before the judge”.
O'Riordan's defence team says that it was only after these statements were put to Mr Mulholland, that he told gardaí about the conversation with O'Riordan.
During his cross-examination of Detective Mohan, Mr Dwyer asked if it “would be fair to say that he felt he was under suspicion of involvement?”
Detective Mohan replied: “He would have that impression because of the questions he was asked.”
But the detective said also that Mr Mulholland volunteered to give a statement as a witness, during one of his later interviews.
He said Mr Mulholland was released from custody, and told he was free to go and was not under any obligation to give the statement.
Detective Mohan told the jury Mr Mulholland “indicated that he was sorry he hadn't done it sooner, and he came back into the station where he made a voluntary statement on camera”.
O'Riordan, of Point Road, Bellurgan in Dundalk, has also denied assaulting a man and hijacking a Mitsubishi on December 12, 2006.
It is the prosecution's case that he was part of a common design with a number of men on the night, and was present at Faughart when the Opel Astra Mr Myers was travelling in was rammed from behind.
The prosecution says Mr Myers and his friend were assaulted with a machete and were lying injured on the road, when O'Riordan got into a hijacked car and rammed the Astra, causing it to run over Mr Myers.
The case resumes in the morning before the jury of six men and six women.