Conspiracy | 

Garda killer Aaron Brady charged with plot to pervert course of justice during murder trial

Brady (31) is accused of conspiring along with another man Dean Byrne (29) to intimidate the key witness

Aaron Brady was found guilty of the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe

Andrew Phelan

Garda killer Aaron Brady has been charged with plotting to pervert the course of justice during his 2020 murder trial by trying to persuade a witness not to give evidence against him.

Brady (31), who was jailed for life for shooting Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe dead, is accused of conspiring along with another man Dean Byrne (29) to intimidate the key witness.

Both men were remanded in custody when they appeared in Dublin District Court today.

Brady made no bail application while Byrne was refused bail by Judge Bryan Smyth.

Brady, of New Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh and Byrne, of Cabra Park, Phibsborough, Dublin, are charged with conspiring to persuade Daniel Cahill not to give evidence with the intention of perverting the course of public justice, between April 8 and June 22, 2020.

Brady is also charged with video recording the playing of a recorded witness interview between Ronan Flynn and gardaí, again to pervert the course of justice, on a date unknown between February 20 and May 7, 2020.

Det Sgt Brian Quirke said Aaron Brady made no reply to either charge after caution. The DPP directed trial on indictment and Judge Smyth remanded Brady in custody to Friday.

Detective Garda Kevin Lawless said Byrne also made no reply. Objecting to bail for Byrne, he said the charge stemmed from the trial of Aaron Brady for the murder of Det Gda Donohoe in the course of his duty at the scene of a robbery at the Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Co Louth, in January 2013.

The trial began in the Central Criminal Court on January 26, 2020, and concluded on August 12 that year, he said.

Daniel Cahill, a barman in New York at the time, was a witness in the trial and made statements in the Yonkers police department in July 2019. Gardaí travelled to speak to him and he gave evidence by video link between June 22 and 24, 2020.

In evidence, Mr Cahill said he heard Aaron Brady say on three different occasions that he had shot a garda.

Adrian Donohoe was shot dead during a robbery in 2013 (Garda/PA)

On June 23, 2020, a mobile phone was found in Dean Byrne’s cell at Mountjoy Prison, Det Gda Lawless said. Five audio recordings were recovered allegedly showing an effort to menace, threaten, intimidate or put in fear Daniel Cahill. Det Gda Lawless said he recognised Mr Byrne’s voice.

The Whatsapp messaging app had a conversation thread between Byrne and a contact containing five audio voice messages and one text message with information pertinent to the trial of Aaron Brady.

An outgoing message from Byrne’s phone on June 22 referred to Daniel Cahill as a “f**king rat c**t” and a “rat bastard” who had said “Brady told him he killed a copper” when “Brady never even said that to him", Det Gda Lawless said.

In an incoming message, the contact referred to seeing pictures of “the statement he gave” and the book of evidence, and mentioned a “fella in America”.

An incoming text message had the money symbol, then “I’d find him”, followed by a wink emoji, Det Gda Lawless said.

An outgoing message said he had got the statements and that Brady was in “over f**king shooting a copper” in Dundalk.

Referring to Mr Cahill again, the message stated he was a “smelly bastard c**t", Det Gda Lawless said.

In an incoming message, the contact said: “I have one person who probably knows where he is over there.”

There were a number of references to pictures of Mr Cahill's statement and the book of evidence, Det Gda Lawless said.

There was also a thread on Facebook Messenger between Byrne and another person with reference to Mr Cahill. A conversation on April 11 referred to Mr Cahill's statements and an attempt to get them to another person, saying: “I will try to get them for you.”

“The young fella is trying to get a life for himself and people are saying he did something he didn’t do,” a message allegedly from Byrne stated.

Examining the threads it was clear Byrne was “the conduit between Aaron Brady and other persons”, Det Gda Lawless said.

Aaron Brady

It was alleged Byrne had made “innovative” use of a contraband mobile phone while in prison, the garda said.

Applying for bail, Byrne’s solicitor David Bassett said his client was presumed innocent and denied the allegations.

He did not have a distinctive voice and the person identified by the gardaí “could have been anyone”, he said.

Byrne was only alleged to have made two of the audio clips. In one, the person is “describing an event” and not offering to do anything. Det Gda Lawless said he was “talking about a witness in a state case in a derogatory manner”.

The text was allegedly sent to Byrne with no further response.

Judge Smyth refused bail and remanded Byrne in custody to this Friday.

Meanwhile, another man, Glen Holland (29) of Rory O'Connor House, Hardwicke Street, Dublin, appeared in the same court charged with unlawful possession of a mobile phone in Mountjoy jail on August 7 and 28, 2020.

Applying for bail, defence solicitor John Quinn said the accused had been in custody since 2017, the alleged offences went back 19 months and his client had only been charged now.

Objecting to bail for Mr Holland, Detective Garda Paul O’Hara said he was charged as part of a wider investigation into intimidation and perverting the course of justice, and a substantial file had to be prepared for the DPP.

Mr Quinn said his client's charges did not relate to “anything of that sort".

Judge Smyth granted him bail with a condition that he has no contact with Aaron Brady or Dean Byrne. His case was adjourned to May 9.

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