Judge instructs jury in trial of alleged getaway driver

The judge in the trial of a man alleged to be the getaway driver in a fatal shooting, has instructed the jury to find the accused guilty of murder if they are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that he assisted the gunman.

The judge in the trial of a man alleged to be the getaway driver in a fatal shooting, has instructed the jury to find the accused guilty of murder if they are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that he assisted the gunman.

“In this case, it is not in any fashion alleged that the accused man was the actual assassin. It's alleged that he lent material assistance to the actual assassin” Mr Justice Paul Carney told the jury on day eight of the trial.

The accused, Liam Bolger (aged 23), of Homelawn Gardens in Tallaght has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Christopher Barry (aged 25), at Byrne's Bookmakers on Killester Avenue in Dublin in September last year.

The prosecution team has told the jury that the case is one of joint enterprise or common design, and that the accused was the getaway driver for the gunman.

Instructing the jury that the lesser crime of manslaughter does not arise in this case, Mr Justice Carney told the jury: “If the accused is found by you to have rendered material assistance to the assassin, he is fully responsible for the offence.”

Earlier in the week, the Central Criminal Court was also shown CCTV footage taken from Byrne's Bookmakers on the afternoon of September 13, 2008.

The video showed customers fleeing the shop as the gunman, wearing a motorcycle helmet, entered the bookies with his arms outstretched and pointed in the direction of Mr Barry who was seated in the corner.

The gunman pursued Mr Barry who fled to the other side of the shop and opened fire.

The deceased was shot nine times during the six seconds that the gunman was on the premises.

In his closing speeches to the six men and six women of the jury yesterday, counsel for the prosecution Mr Paddy McCarthy SC, said Mr Barry's murder was carried out with “chilling efficiency”.

He said the gunman left the scene on his motorbike, which he then set fire to around the corner from Kill ester Avenue, before running to a waiting van which then drove off.

He reminded the jury of the evidence of a witness, Patrick Drew, who saw the van with the driver inside waiting at Killester Park.

After seeing the gunman get into the van, Mr Drew rang gardaí with the van's registration. They traced the white Renault to Mr Bolger's address in Tallaght.

“The gunman is not before the court” Mr McCarthy told the jury “Liam Bolger is charged with the murder because he was part and parcel of everything that occurred.”

Mr McCarthy said he was suggesting that Mr Bolger brought his van to the Killester area to drive the gunman away from the shooting, and to afterwards destroy evidence.

During the trial, the court also heard that mobile phone evidence placed Mr Bolger's phone in the vicinity of the shooting in the minutes before the murder.

Referring to that evidence, Mr McCarthy said: “The only inference to be drawn is not only was his van there, but his phone was there and he was on the phone.”

“All this evidence is only consistent with Liam Bolger acting in consort with the gunman” Mr McCarthy.

“The fact of the matter is that there was a murder and it was carried out because Liam Bolger and the gunman agreed to participate” he finished.

Counsel for the defence, Mr Brendan Grehan SC, raised the point that the murder of Christopher Barry was a professional hit, with all the hallmarks of a highly professional operation.

“Mr Bolger bought his van and signed for it. Yet here you have him going off to commit a murder in its worst possible kind, and he doesn't even bother to change the registration” Mr Grehan said.

Also commenting on the mobile phone evidence, Mr Grehan said: “It's not just something surprising, but absolutely amazing that here Mr Bolger is, when he's supposedly involved in a murder...using his own phone.”

Mr Grehan said that the facts of the case also supported the suggestion that Mr Bolger was “assisting somebody doing something that he didn't know was unlawful...it's quite conceivable that you could get involved in something without knowing the exact nature of it”.

The jury is due to be sent out to consider its verdict on Monday morning.

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