The jury in the trial of a man accused of plotting to steal from a cash-in-transit van have retired for the evening having failed to reach a verdict.
Joseph Warren (aged 30) of Belclare Crescent, Ballymun has pleaded not guilty to conspiring to steal cash from Chubb Ireland at Tesco supermarket on the Shackleton Road in Celbridge on Nov 2, 2007.
It was day 15 of the trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. The jury of seven women and four men had been considering its verdict for just over an hour when Judge Tony Hunt told them to suspend their deliberations for the evening.
One of the jurors has a personal engagement tomorrow so the jury will return on Thursday to continue considering its verdict.
Earlier Deidre Murphy SC, prosecuting, suggested to the jury in her closing address that Mr Warren played a starring role in the raid and was not a victim of duress but rather a valuable member of the gang.
The jury also heard that Mr Warren’s defence barrister, Alan Toal BL, had previously defended Eamonn Dunne, the man who allegedly threatened to shoot Mr Warren if he did not get involved in the raid.
Mr Toal also commented on what he said may have been perceived as animosity between Judge Hunt and him during the course of the trial and informed the jury that he had “huge regard” for the judge.
Judge Hunt remarked after Mr Toal’s speech to the jury that he and the barrister “certainly had their moments” during the trial but said that it shouldn’t worry them.
“Mr Toal and I have known each other for many years and I suppose we have personalities that sometimes bump off each other,” the judge said.
“Certainly descriptions of my handling of the case will remain a disagreement between us but put it down to a side-show and nothing else. We are not here for a side-show, we are here to do serious business,” Judge Hunt continued.
Mr Toal earlier admitted to the jury that he had acted as Dunne’s defence barrister in the past.
“The flip side of that is maybe I know what I am talking about. Now isn’t that a scary thought?” Mr Toal asked.
He said that all the gardaí in the case had no comment to make during the trial on his suggestions that Dunne was “the personification of evil, a serial murderer, a psychopath who slaughtered anyone who got in his way, who often killed people for the hell of it, so vicious so brutal.”
“These were gardaí in the crime and security division, those who know who is who on the ground, yet Eamonn Dunne did not exist or have any part to play,” Mr Toal said.
He told the jury that evidence that Mr Warren walked away, rather than ran, from the cash-in-transit van that morning, coupled with him immediately complying with arresting gardaí suggested that he had been under duress.
“None of the gardaí heard him say it but he expressed the view when arrested, ‘Thank God it’s the gardaí'. That is a curious thing for a man to say. Does it not suggest that this was the end of his terror?” Mr Toal asked the jury.
Ms Murphy told the jury the operation, which she said was a long time in the planning, required a split second decision.
“Something in which a trained solider, as Mr Warren, would be a useful participant,” Ms Murphy suggested.
She said the accused claims that “he was dragooned, coerced and forced into this role by Eamonn Dunne because he owed him money”.
“Mr Warren claims he was a victim of Dunne. Mr Warren was not a victim, he was player and all the evidence points to this,” counsel told the jury.
She asked the jury: “If Mr Warren was not a member of the gang as he claimed, why then was he given a starring role in this well-planned heist?”
“Mr Warren was before and during this heist a very valuable member of this gang because he had the skills to carry out a quick operation,” Ms Murphy said.
She suggested to the jury that Mr Warren’s defence of duress was “a fabrication, a concoction to beat the rap, play the game, to beat the game and to win the game” and added that the accused was now “treating the criminal justice system like a game”.