Murder accused cross-examined nephew after dismissing legal team in bizarre courtroom situation

Tadhg Butler
Tadhg Butler

A man accused of murdering a 25-year-old man in Waterford last year this morning recalled and cross-examined his nephew, who is a witness in the trial, in what a judge described as an "exceptional situation".

Tadhg Butler (34) with an address at Seafield in Tramore, Co Waterford is charged with murdering Michael O'Dwyer at that address on 10th January, 2014.

Mr Butler, also known as Thomas O'Grady and originally from Kilkenny, has pleaded not guilty to murdering his fellow Kilkenny man.

Yesterday Mr Butler dismissed his legal team and on Tuesday he recalled his nephew, who is a witness in the trial, for cross-examination.

Yesterday morning Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy told the jury of four men and eight women that the court found themselves in an exceptional situation.

"I permitted Anthony O'Grady to be recalled as Mr Butler said he wished to ask him questions on a new topic or a new subject and when the witness is called back it’s for that purpose. Those are the restrictions as a matter of law," said the judge.

Mr Butler put it to his nephew Mr O'Grady that he told former defence counsel Mr Brendan Grehan SC previously that he could not remember anything between arriving in Seafield in Tramore that night until he arrived at Tramore Garda Station the following morning?

"I blanked out, I can’t remember anything to do with garda stations, I didn’t know what was going on around me," replied Mr O'Grady.

"Can you remember any Valium being taken," asked Mr Butler.

"I told you I blanked out in the taxi on the way down, I was whacked out of it," replied his nephew.

Mr Butler asked Mr O'Grady if he remembered going out to the stairs in the house and sitting there with the deceased Michael O'Dwyer?

"No my memory is gone from that night, its gone years ago, completely gone," replied Mr O'Grady.

Mr Butler asked him if he remembered saying to him how his head was wrecked and he were going to cut himself in the arms?

"Bullshit," replied Mr O'Grady.

"When you were sitting on the stairs talking to Michael, I woke up on the armchair and asked you to come into the sitting room, you said your head was wrecked and you would cut yourself in the arms," asked Mr Butler.

"I never said that, what are you trying to get at anyway. I have no knifes and have never been known to hurt people with knives," replied Mr O'Grady.

Mr Butler said to Mr O'Grady how he went to the kitchen to get a knife and said he was going to cut himself with a knife and he also had a previous history of self harming with knives.

Mr Butler put it to his nephew: "When you came from the kitchen into the hallway, you were trying to cut yourself with a knife and I was trying to get the knife off you.

Basically a scuffle broke out in the hallway, I was trying to get the knife off you, eventually I got the knife off you with force and the knife went straight into Michael O'Dwyer's chest. I stuck it in his chest but it was accidental, I’m not trying to establish suspicion or guilt on your behalf."

"You’re saying a scuffle broke out with us and you had a knife? Lies," replied Mr O'Grady.

"The first statement you gave to guards in Kilkenny has been read over to the jury and they have been able to use that as evidence in this case for my conviction. I’m trying to bring out the facts of what happened that night. There were no arguments in the house, there had been an argument between you and me outside and I put my arms around you and you carried on drinking, can you remember that?" asked Mr Butler.

"Vaguely, pictures maybe. He wants to know do I self-harm, I’m chopped up to bits," Mr O'Grady said to the jury as he showed his scars on his arms to the courtroom.

Mr Butler then asked his nephew if he thought he was in the right frame of mind to have statements taken from gardai the following morning and if he felt he was under duress from the gardai?

"Sure I was full of drink they are not suppose to do that," replied Mr O'Grady.

"We had an argument in the hallway and you were trying to cut yourself, I grabbed the knife out of your hand and swung it away from you and when I grabbed the knife, I swung around and it went into Michael's chest," said Mr Butler.

He continued: "You went voluntarily to guards and told them I went to the kitchen and stabbed Michael O'Dwyer in the chest even though there was no friction, no arguments, we were all there as Luke Green was going back to Australia, we were all having good time.

"You said in statements to guards that you were off your head, do you feel the account you gave to gardai on January 10 2014 was the right account to give, where you said I went into the kitchen and stabbed a knife into Michael's chest and he collapsed. It didn’t happen like that, it happened with you and me having an argument in the hallway, you were trying to cut your arms, so you can’t  emember that?" asked Mr Butler.

"No," replied Mr O'Grady.

"Is it possible that could have happened?" asked Mr Butler.

 "It could have happened but sure I can’t remember," replied his nephew.

Later in the morning prosecution counsel Mr Denis Vaughan Buckley SC make his closing speech to the jury, where he said not once was it previously suggested during the course of the trial by defence counsel Mr Brendan Grehan SC that Mr Butler "accidentally stabbed Michael O'Dwyer."

"You recollect he was represented until yesterday by one of the most experienced Senior Counsels in the country, you would have thought if instructions of this kind would have been given to Mr Grehan however it was never once suggested whatsoever," said the barrister.

The trial continues.