Firearm residue on accused clothing

Forensic officers at the scene of Seamus 'Shay' O'Byrne's killing
Forensic officers at the scene of Seamus 'Shay' O'Byrne's killing

A murder suspect had firearms residue on his right hand and the cuffs of his hoodie, an expert witness told a trial at the Central Criminal Court today.

Gary Flynn (31), of Rossfield Drive in Tallaght has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Seamus 'Shay' O'Byrne at Tymon Park North in Tallaght on March 13, 2009.

The jury returned to the trial on Monday following a two-week delay for legal issues to be resolved. Liam Fleury, who worked for 31 years at the Forensic Science Laboratory, told prosecuting counsel Alex Owens SC that he examined clothes and skin samples taken from three people gardai suspected of involvement in Mr O'Byrne's shooting.

When he examined samples he took from the cuffs of a grey hoodie that gardai say belonged to Mr Flynn, he found particles that "strongly support" the presence of firearms residue.

A sample taken from the right hand of Mr Flynn also supported the presence of firearms residue, he said. Samples from his face and left hand revealed no residue.

Mr Fleury said that firearms residue is emitted when a gun is fired and can stick to the hands, face and clothes of the shooter and anyone standing close by.

Samples taken from the other two suspects did not reveal any evidence of firearms residue.

During cross examination defence counsel Giollaíosa Ó'Lideadha asked Mr Fleury if he is aware that the prosecution case is that another man, Garrett O'Brien, carried out the shooting.

"We have heard evidence that the DNA of Garrett O'Brien was on a phone found at the location of the murder," said Mr Ó'Lideadha. "The facts point to Garrett O'Brien being the one who pulled the trigger and did the actual shooting."

He added that Mr O'Brien has already been convicted of the murder of Mr O'Byrne.

Mr Fleury said he did not know that and that he had not carried out the forensic testing on Mr O'Brien's clothing or hands and face. He said his only concern was to analyze the items given to him.

Detective Garda Shane Farrell of the Garda Technical Bureau in Harcourt St told Mr Owens that he found finger and palm prints on the bonnet of a Nissan Primera that gardai suspect was used by Mr O'Byrne's murderers.

He said one of the prints belonged to suspect Eugene Cullen and another one to Mr Flynn.

The trial continues before Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of nine men and three women on Tuesday.