'Operation Evening Mass' case hears claims of conflicting evidence

Man denies entering a house as trespasser to commit theft while elderly couple were out attending Mass
'Operation Evening Mass' case hears claims of conflicting evidence

The Garda investigation went under the names Operation Pawn and Operation Evening Mass. File picture: Dan Linehan

A defence lawyer for a man who denies being the getaway driver for an organised burglary at the home of a couple in their 80s who were attending evening Mass claimed there was conflicting evidence about two gear bags in the accused man’s car.

John Faulkner, aged 38, of 4 Adelaide Place, St Luke’s, Cork, denies entering a house as a trespasser to commit a theft at Freemount, Charleville, Co Cork, on Saturday, October 19, 2019. 

He also denies endangerment by passing a car on the inside of a left-hand bend and causing criminal damage to a Garda car at Banteer, Co Cork, as well as related charges.

His barrister, John Temple, today cross-examined Detective Superintendent Vincent O’Sullivan, who was in charge of the investigation that went under the names Operation Pawn and Operation Evening Mass.

Mr Temple said Det Supt O'Sullivan had told the jury about two bags allegedly being discarded from the car when it was described as travelling at 150km/h on country roads. 

Mr Temple said that in April 2020, when two other men were sentenced after being caught at or just outside the house in question, the detective superintendent referred to the gear bags being found in the car.

Mr Temple asked if the bags were thrown from the car or found in the car. Set Supt O'Sullivan said what he meant was that: “The clothes came from the Focus.” 

Mr Temple also asked why, if there was a getaway car,  there were not suitable Garda cars in the area to block the roads.

Det Supt. O’Sullivan replied: “The whole thing was to wait for them to come to us. I have no doubt as soon as John Faulkner dropped off the co-accused, he was scouting around to see who else was around. 

"It would have been madness to put surveillance cars around the house.” 

The trial before Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin and a jury of seven men and five women at Cork Circuit Criminal Court continues tomorrow.

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