A convicted murderer who produced what he claimed to be a mobile phone while giving evidence at the trial of two Limerick men charged with the murder of Roy Collins was instead in possession of a television remote control, the Special Criminal Court has heard.
Anthony “Noddy” McCarthy was today recalled to give evidence in the trial of Wayne Dundon (aged 36), of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect and Nathan Killeen (aged 24) of Hyde Road, Prospect, who have pleaded not guilty to the murder of 35-year-old Roy Collins at Coin Castle Amusements, Roxboro Road Shopping Centre on April 9, 2009.
McCarthy (aged 32) is serving a life sentence for the murder of Kieran Keane in Limerick in January 2003.
The non-jury court has heard that Mr Collins was at work around noon on April 9, 2009, when a gunman entered his amusement arcade and discharged a single shot. He was hit in the chest and died in hospital a short time later.
It is the prosecution case that Wayne Dundon directed the murder from prison, Nathan Killeen was the getaway driver and another man, James Dillon, was the gunman.
In his direct evidence McCarthy told the court that while they were in Wheatfield prison together on the morning of Roy Collins’ murder, his first cousin Wayne Dundon told him he had “ordered James Dillon to go kill Roy Collins”.
He was recalled this morning for further questioning by counsel for Wayne Dundon, Mr Remy Farrell SC.
While being questioned by Mr Farrell on mobile phone calls he was alleged to have made in prison and whether he had a mobile phone in his possession while visiting the prison governor on April 9, 2009, McCarthy said he did not know anyone in jail back then who did not have a phone.
He then stood up in the dock and produced an item from his pocket, saying “what’s that there; a telephone”.
Prison Officer Paul Tucker this afternoon told Mr Farrell that he was present in court when Anthony McCarthy gave evidence, and agreed he was there when McCarthy proffered a rectangular object in his right pocket and indicated he had a mobile phone in his possession.
He agreed McCarthy made some comment about how easy it was to have a telephone in his pocket.
Officer Tucker told Mr Farrell that when McCarthy finished his evidence he told the prisoner to sit in the front seat of the court gallery and asked him what he had in his pocket.
The prison officer said the item was a television remote control, not a mobile phone. He said the item was not something that could have been acquired in the court building and looked to be the type used inside prison.
Officer Tucker agreed that as a matter of logic McCarthy must have brought this item with him from prison.
He agreed with prosecution counsel, Mr Sean Guerin SC, that the item would have attracted attention passing through security and said he did not think anyone would view the item as being prohibited.
Presiding judge Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley said the court accepted the explanation from Mr Tucker and evidence that the item was essentially harmless.
However, she said it was “bewildering and unsatisfactory” that any item of that nature could have been brought in to the Special Criminal Court, of all courts, by a person of McCarthy’s status.
Ms Justice O’Malley said the three judges were not happy with this “at all” and proposed to inform the President of the High Court of the incident to see what he might make of it.
Mr Michael O’Higgins SC, for the prosecution, said Ms Justice O’Malley’s comments would be passed on to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The court also heard evidence today of a forensic link between accused man Nathan Killeen and clothing seized from a house on Crecora Avenue in the aftermath of the shooting.
Forensic scientist Michael Burlington told Mr Guerin that he received a number of exhibits, among them mini-tape lifts from two hoody tops found in the wash basket of a house on Crecora Avenue.
The witness agreed that after Roy Collins was shot he was asked to examine human cellular material from the items seized, generate DNA profiles from this material and make comparisons to reference samples available.
Mr Burlington said that he was able to generate mixed DNA profiles from each of the two hoodies, and the major part of the mixed profiles matched that of Nathan Killeen.
He told Mr Guerin that that the chances of a person unrelated to Nathan Killeen having the same profile was less than one in one billion.
Mr Burlington agreed with counsel for Mr Killeen, Mr Giollaiosa O Lideadha SC, that there was a reasonable possibility of DNA-bearing material being transferred from item to another.
Put it to him by Mr O Lideadha that there was a possibility that DNA was transferred from one hoody top to the other as they were both retrieved from the same wash basket, Mr Burlington agreed this was a possibility.
Mr Burlington agreed it was also possible that DNA could have been transferred on to the hoodies from another item in the basket such as a damp towel.
Last month prosecution witness Lisa Collins gave evidence at the trial that on the morning of April 9, 2009 she was at home on Crecora Avenue when Nathan Killeen and James Dillon called over.
She told the court that the two men later came back to the house again and changed their clothes, and she thought she put the clothes in the washing machine.
The court earlier ruled that evidence of the arrest of Nathan Killeen and the taking of buccal swabs was admissible.
The prosecution has now concluded its case at the trial, which continues before Ms Justice O’Malley.