Electrician 'did not tell garda of gun threat'

A garda sergeant today said a man who has alleged he was threatened with a handgun in custody never made any complaints to him during an interview.

A garda sergeant today said a man who has alleged he was threatened with a handgun in custody never made any complaints to him during an interview.

Sgt Brendan Roache, who held a brief interview with electrician Damien McDaid during his detention in December 1996, told the Morris Tribunal he was not aware of any problems with Mr McDaid during that time.

Mr McDaid, 41, from Newtowncunningham, Co Donegal, was held in Letterkenny garda station by gardaí investigating the death of Mr Barron, a hit-and-run victim who they wrongly believed had been murdered.

He claims during his detention retired detective garda Sean Herraghty ordered him to his knees and pointed a handgun in his mouth, spat on his breakfast and jumped up and down on his feet.

Sgt Roache told the tribunal that as he knew Mr McDaid he offered to speak to him towards the end of his detention period after other officers had already interviewed him.

“From my time with Damien McDaid, that was from 20 to nine until two minutes past nine, he made no complaint to me. He spoke to me there was absolutely no difficulty with him in my presence. He had no complaint to make to me,” Sgt Roache said.

There have been no allegations made against Sgt Roache by Mr McDaid before the tribunal.

Mr McDaid has also accused detective garda Martin Anderson of pushing him in a corridor just moments before his release, while retired Sergeant Martin Moylan is said to have shouted and roared at him during questioning.

The electrician claimed his shoes were taken off him and he was left barefoot in the garda cell.

Gardaí deny all the allegations.

Sgt Roache said if Mr McDaid had not had his shoes on he would have queried the reason for it.

“This was the 17th of December, it would be very unusual for somebody to be in the interview room with shoes off,” he said.

The sergeant said Mr McDaid was not shoved in his presence.

Mr McDaid, who was a father-of-two at the time, was arrested as an accessory after the fact of murder. Gardaí accused him of seeing suspect Frank McBrearty Jnr with an iron bar the night Mr Barron died and possibly hiding an iron bar for him.

The electrician, who cannot read or write, maintained he had no idea where he was that night as he had been drinking all day.

The Morris Tribunal is investigating claims some 12 people were interrogated, intimidated or abused during the botched investigation.

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