Sergeant cross-examined over Corkman’s custody

THE prosecution closed its case yesterday on the 33rd day of the trial of a Cork man accused of money-laundering — as a garda sergeant was cross-examined on whether he heard the accused say he hadn’t slept for two nights while in custody four years ago.

Ted Cunningham, aged 60, of Woodbine Lodge, Farran, Co Cork, has pleaded not guilty to 20 charges of money-laundering arising out of the investigation of the robbery of £26.5 million sterling from the Northern Bank in Belfast on December 20, 2004.

Kieran Barry, now retired, was sergeant in charge at the Bridewell Garda station for part of the time that Cunningham was being questioned in February 2005.

Alan Toal, defending, asked the witness what he noted in the custody record for 1.56pm on February 17, 2005. Mr Barry replied that Cunningham asked for and was given a drink of water.

Mr Toal asked why he had not also noted that the defendant told him when he went into the interview room at that time that he had not slept in two days.

Mr Barry said he did not write it down because he was not told that by Cunningham.

Mr Toal said: “You most certainly were, most absolutely, categorically were.” Mr Barry replied: “This is the first time I’ve heard it.”

Mr Toal said: “It is on the tape (video recording of the interview) and you do not have it recorded (in the written custody record).”

After an adjournment for about half an hour, the video tape of when Mr Barry went into the interview room was played. Cunningham was being interviewed by two detectives when Mr Barry entered and asked, “Are you OK, Ted?”

Cunningham replied: “Could I get a glass of water if you don’t mind?” Cunningham then said: “I had no sleep for two nights.”

Where Mr Barry was at the precise moment that latter comment was made was disputed so much that Mr Toal enquired if it was possible to run the tape in slow motion — something which was not possible.

Mr Toal said the comment was made before the door was shut as Mr Barry exited to get the water and that he had to have heard it.

Mr Barry replied: “I did not hear that comment, I was outside the door.”

Counsel said: “The door, whether you like it or not, was open.” Mr Barry replied: “I cannot record something I did not hear.”

Owen Russell, of ACC Bank, said the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation asked him for accounts held by Ted Cunningham, Chesterton Finance and other companies as part of the investigation. He said two cheques were lodged to Cunningham’s ACC bank account in Wicklow on February 7, 2005, for sums of €100,000 and €44,000, both from John Sheehan.

The jury was previously told that Mr Sheehan was a property developer based in Ballincollig at an office in the building where Chesterton Finance was also based.

Norbert Gallagher, who was international business director for the Irish Productivity Centre, testified yesterday that he had a meeting with Phil Flynn, former chairman of Bank of Scotland (Ireland) in January 2005 where they discussed going to Bulgaria.

James O’Mahony, defence counsel, asked if the possibilities under consideration in Bulgaria included land purchase and a mortgage business. Mr Gallagher agreed. The witness said he only met Cunningham briefly and did not have business meetings with him.

Mr Gallagher said his interest was in the possibility of a project management role for himself. He said he went out to Bulgaria at his own expense and that in the end, nothing came of it.

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