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Accused was “fearful” the deceased “would do something to him", court hears

Brian Veale
Brian Veale

A man on trial accused of murdering a fellow Cork Prison inmate asked a witness not to go back to his cell because he was “fearful” the deceased “would do something to him”, a jury has heard.

Brian Veale (31) of Dominic Street, Cork has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Graham Johnson at Cork Prison, Rathmore Road in Cork City on May 16, 2015.

Yesterday Counsel for the State, Mr Tim O’Leary SC called Mr Ray Cummins, who was in Cork Prison in May 2015, to give evidence.

Mr Cummins told counsel that he was washing pots in Cork Prison kitchen on the morning of May 16 and later began “preparing the tea.”

The witness testified that earlier in the day Mr Veale and Mr Johnson were “arguing” about a “remote control for the telly.”

“The two of them were agitated. It went on for five to ten minutes,” he said.

Mr Cummins agreed with Mr O’Leary that the accused was “calm” when he was talking to him at 3.30pm that day.

“I decided to go back to my cell and that was when I last talked to Mr Veale,” said the witness.

Mr Cummins agreed with Mr Tom Creed SC, defending Veale, that he told gardai a number of days after the event that Mr Johnson “went up into Brian Veale’s face and called him out the back” after the argument over switching television channels.

The witness agreed with Mr Creed that this appeared to him to be “an act of aggression” as he was calling Mr Veale “out the back to fight him.”

The court heard that the accused went “pale white” when this happened and walked away while Mr Johnson continued watching television.

The defence asked Mr Cummins if the accused had requested him not to go back to his cell at around 4pm because he did not want to talk to the deceased.

“He was fearful that Graham would do something to him,” said the witness.

The prosecution called Detective Sergeant Vincent O’Sullivan, from Mayfield Garda Station in Cork, to give evidence.

Det Sgt O'Sullivan told counsel that he got a phone call at 5.15pm on May 16 to attend Cork Prison.

Det Sgt O'Sullivan told the jury that Mr Veale’s kitchen clothing were seized from a bin in his cell that day.  

The accused was arrested and brought for questioning to Mayfield Garda Station on May 22, the court heard. 

The trial continues before Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy and a jury of seven men and five women.