Murder trial witness feared garda "set up"

A jury in a Dublin murder trial has heard that the State’s main witness took a month to go to the gardaí because he claims one of the accused men has "friends in the guards".

A jury in a Dublin murder trial has heard that the State’s main witness took a month to go to the gardaí because he claims one of the accused men has "friends in the guards".

Under cross examination by defence barrister Mr Brendan Nix SC, 20-year-old Joseph O’Callaghan was asked why it took him a month before he went to the gardaí to tell them about the information he knew about the fatal shooting.

Mr O’Callaghan told the jury that the reason was because "Brian (Kenny) has friends in the guards".

"He used to threaten me with them, he said he’d get my ma set up with heroin. I was afraid they they’d get my family," he said.

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

Sgt Stephen Daly told the jury that in the early hours of May 10, 2004 Mr O’Callaghan arrived at Ballymun garda station with his mother. Sgt Daly said Mr O’Callaghan was in an "agitated state".

"He was very nervous and he appeared to be very frightened", he added.

As a result of the conversation, Sgt Daly told the jury, Detective Inspector Thomas O’Loughlin of Lucan garda station arrived at the station.

After the gardaí interviewed Mr O’Callaghan they drove with him to Kilshane Cross where Mr O’Callaghan brought them to a field where a gun was discovered.

Detective Superintendent John McDermott attached to the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation at Harcourt Square told the court under cross examination that "no deals were offered by the gardaí" in relation to Mr O’Callaghan.

Defence barrister Mr John Phelan SC suggested that a decision was made not to prosecute Mr O’Callaghan for possession of heroin worth €160.

Det Supt McDermott said it was "unfair" for him to comment on decisions of the DPP.

Mr Phelan SC suggested that the 20-year-old was "effectively been given immunity from prosecution".

"I can’t comment on that. I can’t comment on what the DPP does," Det Supt McDermott said.

Det Sgt Justin Kelly of National Bureau of Criminal Investigation at Harcourt Square told the court that he observed "charred remains of clothing" in an area close to Kilshane Cross.

"There was a piece of leather on the ground, all the remains were badly burnt. I saw what appeared to be the charred remains of a crashed motorbike helmet," Det Sgt Kelly said.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Michael Peart.

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