Murder trial witness given drug charge immunity, court hears

A jury in a Dublin murder trial has heard that the State’s main witness has allegedly been given "complete immunity" from prosecution for possession of drugs.

A jury in a Dublin murder trial has heard that the State’s main witness has allegedly been given "complete immunity" from prosecution for possession of drugs.

Under cross-examination by Mr John Phelan SC, Mr Joseph O’Callaghan (aged 20) admitted that he had been arrested for possession of heroin worth €160 in 2003.

Mr Phelan SC said to Mr O’Callaghan that he allegedly had been given "complete immunity" from prosecution and that this decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is "unconditional and irrevocable".

"You’re free as a bird from these drug charges," Mr Phelan SC suggested.

"You were facing serious charges, now suddenly you are giving evidence pointing the guilt at my client. There are three documents supporting you that no prosecution will take place. You are as safe as a house, you will not be prosecuted now or in the future," Mr Phelan suggested to the State witness.

Mr Brian Kenny, (aged 36) of Kilshane Cross, Finglas, Co. Dublin and Mr Thomas Hinchon, (aged 25) of St Ronan’s Close, Clondalkin have denied the murder of 25-year-old Dubliner Mr Jonathan O’Reilly of St Mark’s Gardens, Clondalkin on April 17, 2004.

Mr Kenny also pleaded not guilty to threatening to kill Mr Joseph O’Callaghan on April 17, 2004 at Finglas, Dublin.

Mr Kenny denies the possession of a firearm, a Berratta single automatic shot gun on May 10, 2004 at Michelstown Cottage, Kilshane Cross, Dublin.

He also pleaded not guilty to possession of ammunition on the same date. Mr Hinchon pleaded not guilty also to threatening to kill Mr Joseph O’Callaghan on April 17, 2004.

It is alleged by the State that the deceased man was shot outside Cloverhill prison as he sat in a BMW car.

A motorcycle drew up beside the car and a number of shots were fired through the car glass and struck Jonathon O’Reilly, mortally wounding him, the State alleges.

Under cross-examination, Mr Phelan went on to suggest that Mr O’Callaghan is "facilitating the gardaí in this trial". The defence barrister for Mr Kenny said there is not a shred of evidence to suggest his client is responsible except for the witnesses’ evidence.

Mr Phelan said: "You presented yourself as the picture of innocence, I have to suggest to you that you are a criminal." Mr O’Callaghan replied: "Not anymore, I’m changed. I’ve changed for good".

Under cross examination by Mr Brendan Nix SC, Mr O’Callaghan said it was sometime around 5.30pm on the day of the fatal shooting when he read the teletext about the shooting.

Mr Nix said gardaí conducted inquiries with the breaking news website run by Thomas Crosbie Media (TCM), which is a part of the Thomas Crosbie Holdings group.

TCM editor Ms Jill O’Sullivan, the defence barrister said, told gardaí that TV3 text carried the story regarding the shooting at 6.56pm.

"So, you’re not telling the court the truth, you said the news item came up on the text at around 5.30pm," Mr Nix suggested to the 20-year-old. "It was definitely on one of them," Mr O’Callaghan said referring to the teletext.

Mr Nix said RTE’s Aertel service carried the story of the shooting first at 4.15pm and then at 5.04pm they carried the story that the man who had been shot had died. Mr O’Callaghan had told the court that when he first read the teletext the report said the man was seriously injured.

"You are telling me lies", Mr Nix suggested to which the witness replied, "Ok".

Mr O’Callaghan under cross-examination agreed that he was relieved when he didn’t receive a summons from gardaí regarding the drugs offence. He said he had "expected to be summoned".

The trial continues before Mr Justice Michael Peart.

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