Aaron Brady charged with conspiring to stop key witness from giving evidence during trial

Brady was found guilty in August 2020 of shooting dead Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe during a robbery at Lordship Credit Union in January 2013
Aaron Brady charged with conspiring to stop key witness from giving evidence during trial

Tom Tuite

Convicted Garda-killer Aaron Brady has been charged with perverting the course of justice and conspiring to persuade a key State witness not to testify during his trial for murdering Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe.

Brady (31) of New Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, had denied murder for shooting Detective Garda Donohoe dead during a robbery at Lordship Credit Union in Co Louth on January 25th, 2013. However, he was handed a life sentence after being found guilty at the Central Criminal Court in August 2020.

Following an investigation by the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI), Brady and two other men appeared before Judge Bryan Smyth at Dublin District Court on Monday. The court heard a “substantial file” had been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Brady is accused of conspiring with co-defendant, Dean Byrne, to persuade Daniel Cahill, a prosecution witness in his trial, not to give evidence to pervert the course of public justice between April 8th and June 22nd, 2020.

During the trial, which ran from January to August of that year, Mr Cahill testified that he overheard Brady say he shot a garda.

Brady also faces a second charge that on a date unknown between February 20th and May 7th, 2020, he video-recorded the playing of a video-recorded witness interview between Ronan Flynn and members of An Garda Síochána, thus embarking upon a course to pervert the course of public justice.

Both charges are contrary to Common Law and could result in unlimited fines and jail sentences on conviction.

NBCI Detective Sergeant Brian Quirke told Judge Smyth that Brady made no reply to the charges after his arrest on Monday morning. The DPP directed that he would face trial on indictment in a higher court.

Brady did not address the court, while his barrister successfully applied for legal aid on his behalf. Detective Sergeant Quirke said there was no objection due to the seriousness of the case.

Prosecutors must complete a book of evidence before he can be sent forward for trial and Judge Smyth remanded Brady in custody to appear via video link on Friday.

The court heard Byrne (29) from Cabra Park, Phibsborough, Dublin, “gave no reply to charge".

Contraband phone

NBCI Detective Kevin Lawless said the DPP directed that Byrne will also be tried on indictment and objected to bail due to the seriousness of the case.

The detective alleged a contraband phone was recovered from his cell in Mountjoy Prison with five recovered WhatsApp exchanges.

It was further alleged there were message threads and voice and audio messages to an anonymous contact with threats and offers to intimidate Mr Cahill.

It was alleged the witness was referred to as a rat, and his statement and the book of evidence were mentioned.

The court heard there was an incoming message that said: "I'll find him", followed by a money symbol and a winking emoji.

Detective Garda Lawless alleged Byrne replied with a voice message mentioning the shooting and calling Mr Cahill a "smelly b**tard c**t".

The court heard an incoming clip said: "I will go look for him; I know a person who probably knows where he is."

Messages were forensically extracted from Facebook Messenger with references to Mr Cahill on April 11th, 2020, and an effort to "get him to stop".

Detective Garda Lawless alleged that Byrne was a "conduit" between Brady and others, with the detective describing him as innovative and adaptive, using a contraband mobile phone.

Judge Smyth refused to grant Byrne bail and remanded him in custody pending his next appearance via video link on Friday. He was also granted legal aid following an application by his solicitor.

The third defendant, Glen Holland of Rory O’Connor House, Hardwicke Street, Dublin 1, was charged with unlawful possession of a mobile phone in prison from August 7th-28th, 2020.

Detective Garda Paul O’Hara said Holland also made no reply to his charge. His case is to be dealt with at District Court level.

The judge granted him bail and, once released, Holland must sign on daily at a Garda station, not apply for travel documentation, and have no contact with Brady or Byrne, "including by any electronic means".

Judge Smyth granted Holland legal aid and adjourned his case until May 9th.

None of the defendants have indicated a plea.

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