Defence: It is 'possible' accused was involved in murder, court hears

Closing speeches have been heard in the trial of a Dublin man accused of a fatal shooting on the Clontarf Road four years ago.

Closing speeches have been heard in the trial of a Dublin man accused of a fatal shooting on the Clontarf Road four years ago.

Craig White (aged 23), of O'Devaney Gardens in north inner city Dublin, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Noel Roche (aged 27) on Clontarf Road on November 15, 2005.

Mr Roche was found shot dead in the passenger seat of a Ford Mondeo. Four shots were fired into the car through a tinted passenger window. A Peugeot car was abandoned on nearby Furry Park Road after the shooting.

Inside the Peugeot, gardaí found a can of petrol and a paper bag which contained the murder weapon. Two men were seen running from the abandoned car and two gloves were found along Furry Park Road.

On the tenth day of the trial Anthony Sammon SC, prosecuting, said that Mr White was involved in the murder of Mr Roche in a joint enterprise. Forensic evidence had linked the accused to the gloves found along Furry Park Road and to the paper bag which contained the Glock semi-automatic pistol used to kill Mr Roche.

He asked the jury to apply its common sense in considering the chain of evidence presented by the prosecution as a result of "painstaking inquiry and thorough analysis of materials".

Mr Sammon said it was not necessary to establish whether Mr White fired the weapon or drove the car. The State says that Mr White was one of those two people and each were as guilty of murder as the other.

Fingerprints matching Mr White were found on the outside of the paper bag and a DNA profile matching his was found on the handle of the bag. Partial DNA profiles were extracted from the gloves found on Furry Park Road and they also matched Mr White.

Mr Sammon said that Mr White was "all over the place forensically" and he and his partner had "messed up" when they abandoned the car without setting fire to it using the petrol found in a can in the vehicle.

Prosecuting counsel said Mr White would had to have been the most "unfortunate man in Ireland" that someone would have used a bag and a pair of gloves in this crime that Mr White had used at some stage without leaving any trace of themselves on the items. He told the jury that such a scenario was "just not plausible" and was an "insult to your intelligence".

Mr Sammon also accused the defence of introducing hearsay evidence about Patrick Doyle's involvement in the shooting and said that there was no evidence against that man, now deceased.

Brendan Grehan SC, defending, said: "It is possible for you to conclude that Craig White was one of the people involved in the murder of Noel Roach." He said it might even be able to stretch to "probable" but it could not conclude that his client was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Mr Grehan said that while Mr White's finger prints and DNA were found on the paper bag, it could have come from anywhere. Expert witnesses had agreed with Mr Grehan that they could not say whether DNA found on the gloves had come from the outside or inside or whether DNA had been transferred on to them directly or by secondary contact.

An almost complete profile had been found on the handle of the bag. A lesser profile had been found on one glove, and an even lesser profile was extracted from the second glove. Forensic witnesses were unable to exclude the possibility that DNA had been transferred from the handle of the paper bag to a gloved hand.

Mr Grehan said that the prosecution was seeking to say that the science in the case went further than it actually did.

Mr Grehan said that a Patrick Doyle was shot dead in Spain in February 2008 and was a person about whom gardaí had received intelligence in relation to this case. He left the jurisdiction after Mr Roche was shot. No evidence was adduced in the trial that he did anything.

Mr Grehan said that gardaí were in possession of the same evidence against Mr White in April 2006 as had been presented now. A file was submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions in 2006 but no charges were directed against Mr White at that time. Mr Grehan said that a change occurred in February 2008.

He said that Mr White might have been involved in matters not directly linked to this murder but which might have caused him difficulty. "That would not make him guilty of murder. He was 19 years old at the time of Mr Roche's death and the jury had heard no evidence of any connection between the two men."

Mr Grehan said the case depended entirely on the interpretation of forensic evidence and the jury could not gloss over alternative explanations. He said the prosecution had stretched its evidence to 'breaking point' and the jury must acquit.

Mr Justice George Birmingham began his charge to the jury today and will complete his instructions to it tomorrow morning before sending it out to begin its deliberations.

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