A court has been told that John Dundon’s carelessness in describing a man he wanted killed caused the death of innocent rugby player Shane Geoghegan.
The Special Criminal Court was hearing closing submissions from both sides today in the trial of the 30-year-old accused of murdering the Garryowen player in Limerick almost five years ago.
Mr Geoghegan was gunned down in a case of mistaken identity as he returned home to his girlfriend in Dooradoyle around 1am on November 9, 2008. The 28-year-old died of gunshot wounds to his head and trunk just metres from his home at Clonmore, Kilteragh.
Dundon, of Hyde Road in Limerick, has pleaded not guilty to his murder.
Seán Guerin BL, prosecuting, reminded the non-jury court that gunman Barry Doyle had moved to Limerick just a couple of months before the killing. He said it would have been difficult for Doyle to know what Dundon’s target, John McNamara, looked like.
Mr Guerin noted the evidence April Collins gave the court of Dundon ordering Doyle to kill McNamara and the description he gave of the target.
“The lack of precision in that description is what made it possible for someone else to be killed,” he said.
He noted that Mr Geoghegan’s route home that morning took him past the only street light not working, and said that this compounded the imprecision of Dundon’s description.
“John Dundon bares direct responsibility for anyone who might have been passing being shot,” he said. “(This) carelessness tragically caused the death of Shane Geoghegan.”
Mr Guerin drew the court’s attention to CCTV footage, which showed Dundon and Doyle together the week before the killing.
He also said that cell site analysis confirmed in precise detail the evidence April Collins gave of Dundon ringing a man called Philip Collopy that morning to tell him that John McNamara was dead.
He said that Ms Collins also provided corroboration for the evidence of two other witnesses: Christopher McCarthy and Ms Collins’s sister, Lisa Collins. He described the technical evidence supporting their testimony as extraordinary. He was referring to CCTV footage of them stealing the car used in the murder, allegedly on Dundon’s order.
He said the fact that the three witnesses did not have unblemished characters did not make their evidence less credible.
Brendan Nix SC, defending, asked the three judges a number of rhetorical questions.
He asked if they believed that April Collins had not done some deal to avoid going to jail after pleading guilty to threatening a woman in an unrelated case. The court had heard that she received a suspended sentence about a month after giving her statement about Mr Geoghegan’s murder.
Mr Nix asked if it was a coincidence that her statement against his client coincided with her ‘bust up’ with his brother and her former partner, Ger Dundon.
“Why is this case here and not in Limerick?” he asked later. “Because she would not be believed by those who know her,” he said.
He asked if the judges believed it was a coincidence that Lisa Collins and Christopher McCarthy made their garda statements shortly after April Collins made hers.
“Because, if you do, convict him. Send him down forever,” he suggested.
“This is a three-witness case and credibility is on the line here,” he said.
“Significantly, all three major players in this case expressed no sympathy for the death of Mr Geoghegan,” he added.
“They had plenty of time to concoct a case against my client,” he said.
“What it comes down to is that April Collins is supported in her statement by her sister and Mr McCarthy,” he continued.
“If you were ever to do a conspiracy to do someone down, how better a way to do it?” he asked.
High Court President Justice Nicholas Kearns presiding said the court would take some time to consider the case. He said it would deliver its decision this coming Tuesday.