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Jailed again Woman convicted of staging murder victim's suicide says she feels "smothered" by system

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Tragic murder victim Martin 'Matt' Kivlehan

Tragic murder victim Martin 'Matt' Kivlehan

Tragic murder victim Martin 'Matt' Kivlehan

A woman serving a suspended sentence for staging a murder victim's suicide has been sent back to jail after a judge heard she has been charged with 33 new offences, has consumed crack and heroin and failed to give notice of where she was living.

Janice Brady told Mr Justice Michael White today (FRIDAY) that she wanted the system to leave her alone as she felt "smothered" by it. "I just want to get out of prison and be able to breathe," she said.

The mother-of-one with a last address at Maryville Hostel, Finisklin, Sligo was sentenced to four years in prison in November 2019 for staging a suicide in order to impede the prosecution of her brother for the murder of Sligo musician, Martin “Matt” Kivlehan (60).

The 30-year-old pleaded guilty to the impeding charge in November 2017.

Keith Brady (33) was found guilty of Mr Kivlehan’s murder at New Apartments, Holborn St, Sligo on August 2 or August 3, 2015.

By the time of her sentence hearing, after her brother’s trial, Janice Brady had already served 28 months in custody. The court ruled that she was not required to serve the balance of her jail term on condition that she resided with her father in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal.

The Central Criminal Court heard in March that she had moved into a B&B in Dublin without informing her probation officer.

Mr Justice White warned Brady at the time that he would have to send her back to jail if she failed to keep in contact with the probation service about where she was living.

Earlier this month, a bench warrant was issued for Brady after she breached the terms of her suspended sentence again. Sergeant Martin McHale of Sligo Garda Station told Mr Justice White that Brady had been charged with 32 offences since March, mainly for shoplifting and all in Dublin.

The judge then issued a warrant for her arrest after hearing that she had 10 months left in her sentence.

At the outset of this morning's hearing, Brady told Mr Justice White that she just wanted "the system" to leave her alone.

Paul Murray SC, on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), informed the court that the defendant had breached the conditions imposed by the court for a second time.

In his evidence, probation officer Ambrose O'Byrne said that he had attempted to contact the defendant without success by phone on 16 separate occasions between March and August 2020. Mr O'Byrne said he left messages for Brady but there was no response from her.

Mr O'Byrne said he had also contacted the Peter McVerry Trust and was informed that the mother-of-one no longer resided there.

The witness noted that Brady's conditions included that she notify gardai of any change of address and the matter would have been re-entered before now but for Covid-19.

Following this, Sergeant McHale told Mr Justice White that Brady appeared to be sleeping rough, was no longer in long-term accommodation, was charged with 33 offences in Dublin city and by her own admission was engaging in the consumption of controlled drugs namely crack cocaine and heroin.

From the dock, Brady said aloud that she felt "smothered" by the system and she had accepted that it would never "work out" between herself and her father.

Taking the stand, Brady agreed with her barrister Joe Barnes BL that she wanted the matter finalised today. "I just need it out of the way. Even when I got out I still felt I was holding onto the past and felt I could not move on [sic]," she said.

The defendant told the judge that she needed to "get out of prison' and to live her life without the system "holding" her.

"With the charge with me and my brother, it was still there [sic]. I just want to get out of prison and be able to breathe. There is no point me asking for bail, it's wasting the judge's time and my time" she remarked.

"I need to get it out of the way and move on from it," she concluded.

Activating the suspended part of the original sentence, Mr Justice White said that he had to impose the balance of the nine month sentence as Brady was in trouble again with the law, had failed to cooperate with the probation services and was still abusing drugs.

The court had previously heard that she had assisted her brother, by falsifying the scene of the murder; she had placed the victim’s hand on a knife.

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