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2012 shooting Closing speeches heard at trial of men charged with murdering gangland veteran Eamon Kelly

Kenneth Donohoe and Darren Murphy have both pleaded not guilty to the charge


Murdered: Eamon Kelly

Murdered: Eamon Kelly

Murdered: Eamon Kelly

The Special Criminal Court trial of two men who deny murdering crime figure Eamon Kelly in north Dublin nine years ago has heard closing speeches from both the prosecution and defence teams.

Father-of-nine Kelly (65) was shot four times in the back as he walked towards his home in north Dublin in December of 2012. He was one of the country’s most well-known criminal figures, having been involved in organised crime for more than four decades.

The three-judge court has heard the trial of Kenneth Donohoe and Darren Murphy, who are charged with murdering Kelly at Furry Park Road, Killester, on Dublin’s northside, on December 4, 2012. Mr Donohoe (42), of Hazelgrove, Tallaght, Dublin 24, and Mr Murphy (50) of George's Place, Dublin 1, have both pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Both men have also pleaded not guilty to the possession of a firearm, a Glock pistol, with intent to endanger life, on the same date and at the same location.

In 2015, Sean Connolly, then aged 35, of Bernard Curtis House, Bluebell, Dublin, was jailed for life by the Special Criminal Court for the murder of Kelly.

In his closing speech on Friday at the Special Criminal Court Dominic McGinn SC, said it was the prosecution case that Mr Murphy had driven the shooter, Connolly, to the scene and that firearms residue was recovered from a jacket belonging to Mr Donohoe.

Mr McGinn said that leading up to the shooting, an Opel Meriva car that was registered to Mr Murphy's partner and was used in the killing could be seen on various clips of CCTV footage shown to the court.

Mr McGinn said the "intrinsically connected" car was used to reconnoitre the same roads the day before the murder and that it was used to collect the driver of a black Lexus, which was also used in the killing.

Counsel said that it was the prosecution's case that the driver of the Meriva, who was referred to as 'Male C' in CCTV evidence was "clearly shown" to be the same man viewed on footage from earlier in the day.

This man, said Mr McGinn, wore the same clothing when driving and that he had the "exact same" height and build as 'Male C', who the prosecution contends is Mr Murphy.

Counsel said the crux of the matter against Mr Murphy is that seven gardaí identified him from CCTV and that the car was seen at George's Place where the accused lives.

Mr McGinn said that none of the seven gardaí, when they viewed footage in 2018 in identifying Mr Murphy, had any foreknowledge of what the footage related to and that all seven independently came up with Mr Murphy's name.

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Counsel said that it was the prosecution's case that on the day of the murder Mr Murphy picked up Sean Connolly, the gunman, at Temple Street and drove him to Killester for the shooting in the Meriva.

Mr McGinn said there could be "no doubt" that Mr Murphy was the driver and that this meant that Mr Murphy had knowledge of a "plan" days in advance of the killing.

Counsel said that it was also Mr Murphy's role to notify Connolly and Mr Donohoe of the regular walking route that Kelly took to and from the Ladbrokes bookies in Killester, which Mr Murphy knew from his advance surveillance.

Mr McGinn said that the plan could not have been one of robbery, as there was no guarantee that Kelly would have cash, even if he had visited a bookies. Counsel said the prosecution contends that Mr Murphy knew in advance there was to be a "serious, violent attack upon a person".

Counsel said that Mr Donohoe's fingerprints were found on gloves seized from the Meriva four days after the shooting and that firearms residue was found on the internal pockets of a jacket the prosecution say belongs to him.

In closing his case against Mr Murphy, Mr McGinn submitted that the court can be satisfied that Mr Murphy was aware of the plan and that it can draw "the overwhelming inference that Darren Murphy is guilty of murder".

Philipp Rahn BL for Mr Donohoe said that his client enjoyed the presumption of innocence and that the prosecution was trying to put forward circumstantial evidence of a joint enterprise to murder but had not met the standard of proof required.

Mr Rahn said that the State had not met the standard required to prove that his client drove the Lexus on the day, that he was in the Meriva, or that he had been in the company of either Mr Murphy or Connolly on the day of the shooting.

Counsel said that a witness, David Glynn, had seen a 1996 Dublin registered Lexus parked at Watermill Road in Raheny after 2pm on the day and had described to the court a male of around 5'6" with dyed blond hair get into the car. Mr Donohoe is over six feet in height.

Mr Rahn said that up to 30 gardaí could not identify his client from CCTV clips in north Dublin after he was initially identified on the morning of the killing from CCTV footage of him shopping with his wife in Arklow, Co Wicklow.

Counsel said that, with regard to a single fingerprint alleged to be his client's that was found in the Meriva vehicle, it had only eight fingerprint "points" whereas the standard for use in an Irish court was 12 points.

The fingerprint, said counsel, could not be used in an identification on its own and could only be used as corroborative evidence.

Regarding a jacket seized by gardaí and then returned to the Donohoes' home, which had firearms residue on it, Mr Rahn said that the situation of returning the item to only have it seized again by gardaí was "at least peculiar".

Counsel said that two gardaí had told the trial that "they had never had that situation before".

Mr Rahn said that the firearms residue found on the jacket was "not unique" and "was not a signature mark" because it could have been from a previous incident and that there was no indication how long the residue was in the inside jacket pockets.

Counsel said that the prosecution had not established beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr Donohoe was involved in a "plan".

Mr Rahn said that the prosecution had not established that Mr Murphy drove Connolly to the scene of the crime and that it had not been established that Mr Donohoe had made an escape with Mr Murphy from the scene in the Meriva.

"The case has not been established beyond a reasonable doubt," he told the three-judge court.

Paul Carroll SC for Mr Murphy said that when analysts tested the Meriva for firearm discharge the results were "negative".

Mr Carroll said that there had been no connection established that his client had been at Furry Park Road on the day and that there was no phone evidence offered against Mr Murphy.

Counsel said that footage the prosecution claims identifies Mr Murphy at Temple Street was "very blurred".

Mr Carroll said that no footage of the Meriva in the three days after the shooting was put before the court by the prosecution and therefore nobody knew where it could have been and who might have been in it.

Counsel said that any CCTV identification of his client was "not a blind tasting", as identifying gardaí had looked up Mr Murphy and the Kelly murder on the Garda Pulse system at the same time.

Mr Carroll submitted to the court that the identification of Mr Murphy, through his movements on the day by some gardaí lacked "credibility" when they were cross-examined.

Counsel said that gardaí had suffered a "collective amnesia" when asked to recount checking Pulse for Mr Murphy who, Mr Carroll said, gardaí knew had been a suspect in the case before being asked to view CCTV to identify the accused.

Mr Carroll said that when he put it to gardaí during the trial that they knew Mr Murphy was a suspect in the case before they went through a CCTV identification viewing, he was told: "I don't recall".

Counsel noted that the CCTV footage viewed by gardaí also had a time-stamp of December 4, 2012, and that gardaí not making the connection to the date of the murder was "just not credible".

Counsel said that this "collective amnesia" of prior knowledge before identification of Mr Murphy made the case "unsafe" and that there was a "very serious concern for the court to be asked to rely on these witnesses".

Presiding judge Justice Alex Owens, sitting with Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin and Judge Dermot Dempsey, adjourned the 32-day trial to October 26, for a possible judgement in the case.

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