Dundon: The judgment

The judgment in the John Dundon case ran to 84 pages and reveals the difficulties the court faced in evaluating the evidence of key witnesses, all of whom had close ties to Dundon and his associates and helped cover up Shane Geoghegan’s murder.

“This case is all about credibility. While that may be said of many criminal cases, it is particularly true in this case where all the principal suspects and those suspected of having information were closely associated and involved with each other at the time of Shane Geoghegan’s murder in November 2008.”

“Gangland rules of “silence in all circumstances” usually prevail in the aftermath of a serious crime where such persons, or one or more of them come under suspicion of involvement in it. Such attitudes create serious difficulties for the gardaí in the investigation of crime and serious problems and risks for any member of such a group who afterwards leaves the group and decides to come forward as a witness against his or her former associates.”

“The Court is of the view that it should treat the main prosecution witnesses as accomplices for the purposes of evaluating their evidence in this case. She [April Collins] did not avail of the opportunity to warn the gardaí of the intended killing, albeit she said in evidence she would have been killed herself had she done so.”

“The Court agrees with Mr Nix [defence counsel], as already indicated in its analysis, that the behaviour of April Collins on the night of 8th November, 2008, was reprehensible.”

“Plainly terrified of the accused, she [April Collins] was nonetheless steadfast in her account of what was said and what was done. She did not present herself as some sort of innocent and admitted to her own wrongdoings in the past and provided explanations when asked why she said and did certain things. She said she now lived in fear for her life and was under garda protection 24/7.”

“The only evidence to contradict that offered by April Collins was that of Liam Casey, a witness whom the Court found to be utterly unworthy of belief. Such evidence as he gave was perfunctory and evasive. His demeanour when giving it did not inspire confidence or convey to the Court that the witness was telling the truth, indeed the opposite was the impression conveyed.”

“With regard to Lisa Collins and Christopher McCarthy, the Court would be of the view that they should, for the purposes of the Court’s approach to this case, be likewise treated as accomplices.”

“Lisa Collins herself did not come forward to make a statement until October 2012. In the aftermath of the killing, Christopher McCarthy was arrested, but met all questions by stating to the gardaí that he had been advised by his solicitor to say nothing.”

“The Court must be mindful of the desirability of having independent corroborative evidence to support the evidence offered by the three main prosecutions witnesses in this trial. That is not to say that the Court cannot convict without such evidence if it finds the evidence of these witnesses to be credible, but rather that it must be cautious in that regard, always bearing in mind that it would be dangerous to accept the evidence of such witnesses without such corroboration.”

“The Court is thus satisfied, that, even treating the main prosecution witnesses as accomplices to the killing of Shane Geoghegan, but nonetheless refusing to treat the evidence of any single one of them as corroborative of the other, the truthfulness and accuracy of each individual account may be accepted as truthful and accurate by the Court, supported as each individual account is by independent supportive evidence of a corroborative nature. That evidence, taken as a whole, points overwhelmingly to the guilt of John Dundon of the offence with which he stands charged.”


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