Garda tells of search and questioning of murder accused

A Dublin man accused of murdering another man by shooting him at close range in the back of the head appeared normal when in custody following his arrest, a Garda sergeant has told the Central Criminal Court.

A Dublin man accused of murdering another man by shooting him at close range in the back of the head appeared normal when in custody following his arrest, a Garda sergeant has told the Central Criminal Court.

Detective Sergeant Michael Shyne was giving evidence in the trial of Stephen Kelly (aged 21) from Balcurris Road in Ballymun, who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ian McConnell.

The 28-year-old was gunned down on the first-floor landing of a block of flats at Shangan Road in north Dublin in the early hours of December 11, 2005.

Det. Sgt Shyne told prosecuting counsel Mr Michael O’Higgins SC that he was in charge at Santry Garda Station on December 11, 2005, when the accused was arrested and brought in for questioning on suspicion of the unlawful possession of a firearm on Shangan Road in the early hours of that morning.

Under cross examination by Ms Mary Ellen Ring SC, defending, he agreed that he had brought Mr Kelly into a cell to be searched, which was a common practice to ensure prisoners did not have anything in their possession to cause injury to themselves or the gardaí.

The witness said he had asked Mr Kelly to let down his trousers to see that there was nothing in between his legs and he found nothing there.

He said he did not have the power to carry out an internal search, and that if he had to do that a medical doctor would have to be present.

He also said the accused had been speaking earlier and, from his observations, had nothing in his mouth.

Det. Sgt Shyne agreed with Ms Ring that on some occasions Mr Kelly had not signed the master tape of his interviews with detectives, and that on one occasion he had marked it with an X.

However, on other occasions he had signed the tapes and he agreed with Ms Ring that the jury could draw nothing adverse from his actions, as he was under no obligation to do this.

Another witness, Sergeant James Murphy, said Mr Kelly had been prescribed two Valium from a doctor before he was taken back to his cell shortly after midnight on December 13.

He said he had checked on the prisoner and found nothing unusual. The trial, which had been in legal argument for the last three and a half days, will continue tomorrow before Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins and the jury.

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