Verdicts upheld  | 

Dublin brothers convicted of murdering gunman after he shot at their home lose appeal

Jason Bradley (24) and Dean Bradley (28) of Liscarne Gardens, Dublin 22 were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2018

Dean and Jason Bradley

Eoin Reynolds 

Two brothers have lost their appeals against their convictions for murdering a man by driving over him and striking him with a weapon after he had fired a shot at their home.

Dean and Jason Bradley had claimed that their convictions for the murder of Neil Reilly in 2017 should be overturned because of alleged errors in the judge's charge to the jury and because, they said, a key prosecution witness should not have been allowed to give evidence.

Mr Justice John Edwards at the three-judge Court of Appeal today dismissed all grounds relied on by the brothers' defence barristers. He said the trial was run in a satisfactory and fair manner by the trial judge and that the jury's verdicts against both men were safe.

In July 2018, Jason Bradley (24) and Dean Bradley (28) of Liscarne Gardens, Dublin 22 were sentenced to life imprisonment after they were found guilty of the murder of 36-year-old Neil Reilly at Esker Glebe in Lucan, Dublin on January 18, 2017.

Jason Bradley. Photo: Collins Courts

The appellants had been tried along with their father Paul Bradley and another brother Ryan Bradley.

Paul Bradley was acquitted by the jury and Ryan Bradley was acquitted by direction of the trial judge but pleaded guilty to an offence of impeding the murder investigation. He was ultimately given a fully suspended five-year prison sentence.

During the trial eyewitnesses said there was a confrontation between the four members of the Bradley family and the deceased in a housing estate in Lucan, which resulted in Jason Bradley delivering chopping blows to Mr Reilly before Dean Bradley drove a BMW over him.

Two witnesses saw him drive over Mr Reilly twice while another said she saw the car drive over him, reverse over him and drive over him again.

Mr Justice Edwards addressed each of the 12 grounds of appeal starting with a complaint that the defence had been left with a "Hobson's choice" when the judge directed the acquittal of Ryan Bradley after barristers for Dean and Jason Bradley had already delivered their closing speeches to the jury.

Dean Bradley. Photo: Collins Courts

Barristers for Dean and Jason said they would have addressed the jury differently had Ryan been acquitted earlier but felt that if they elected to readdress the jury they would be seen as "schizophrenic" or that their defence was poorly thought through.

Mr Justice Edwards said he is not persuaded that they were "strategically embarrassed and faced with a Hobson's choice, that is a seemingly free choice where there is no real alternative."

He said the manner in which the trial unfolded limited their strategic choices but was not unfair and counsel for either men could have effectively readdressed the jury.

One of the main witnesses in the trial was Danielle Cusack who said that she saw the deceased being run over by Dean's BMW and then held up by at least two other men before being reversed over by the BMW. She said she then saw the BMW drive over Mr Reilly again.

The appellants said that the trial judge should not have allowed Ms Cusack to give evidence as she was the only witness who claimed to have seen Mr Reilly being held up while the BMW reversed.

They complained that she gave her first interview to gardai more than seven months after the event and gave her statement using a new technique known as Enhanced Cognitive Interview (ECI) whereby gardai allowed her to speak for a long time without interrupting her.

Mr Justice Edwards said there was no evidence that ECI lacks a scientific basis and there is nothing about it that makes it incompatible with the right to a fair trial.

The purpose of it, he said, is to allow the witness to make a statement without gardai asking leading or misleading questions. It is also, the judge said, a transparent procedure.

He also dismissed a complaint that Ms Cusack had written a note about what she saw that was not disclosed until the trial had begun. Mr Justice Edwards there was no unfairness to the accused because the note was disclosed before Ms Cusack gave her evidence.

The court also rejected arguments regarding the trial judge's charge describing one appeal ground as "fanciful" and another as "ill-conceived".

He said he was "at a loss to know what was said to be wrong" with the judge's charge in relation to an argument that the trial judge had improperly charged the jury on Dean Bradley's claim that he drove over Mr Reilly by accident.

He said the judge had sufficiently charged the jury in relation to that and that the defence's submissions were "silent as to what is the basis of his complaint".

He concluded: "We are satisfied that the trials were satisfactory and the jury's verdicts were safe and accordingly the appeals must be dismissed."

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