herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

No deals made with Marioara 
witness - gardai

SENIOR gardai in the Marioara Rostas murder investigation have said there were "no deals on offer" before a key witness came forward to show them where she was buried.

Investigators said witness Fergus O'Hanlon never asked for immunity from prosecution before locating the body and making a statement against murder accused Alan Wilson.

The Central Criminal Court heard Mr O'Hanlon showed gardai the location where Marioara was buried in woods in the Dublin Mountains in January 2012.

Gardai insisted neither they nor Mr O'Hanlon brought up the issue of immunity.

Mr Wilson (35), of New Street Gardens, Dublin 8, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Marioara (18) at Brabazon Street, The Coombe, between January 7 and 8, 2008.

grave

She went missing while begging in traffic in the city centre on January 6 that year and her body was found in a shallow grave in woods on the Dublin/Wicklow border on January 23, 2012.

Mr O'Hanlon, a former friend of the accused, has alleged that when he returned home on January 8, 2008, Mr Wilson showed him Marioara's dead body. He has alleged he helped Mr Wilson dispose of her remains.

The jury heard Mr O'Hanlon, a convicted criminal, was granted immunity from prosecution but the certificate did not issue from the DPP until two days into the trial.

Cross-examined by Michael O'Higgins, for the defence, Supt JJ Keane denied that the issue of immunity from prosecution was brought up by either him or Mr OHanlon.

"He was looking for no deals whatsoever, no deals were on offer," Supt Keane said. "I never heard the word immunity mentioned."

He added it was a matter for the DPP.

Retired Detective Superintendent Gabriel O'Gara denied that Mr O'Hanlon was "glad handled" in the run up to the trial.

Sgt Sean McAvinchy was asked to explain a note he made of a meeting with Mr O'Hanlon on January 9, 2012.

In it, Mr O'Hanlon expressed his fear that he would be arrested if he identified the burial site. Sgt McAvinchy "assured him it was not the case", "a lot of work needed to be done", there were "no guarantees" and he reminded him of his solicitor's advice.

He said this was not a reference to the possibility that Mr O'Hanlon might not be charged.

immunity

The court heard Mr O'Hanlon's solicitor Bridget Rouse had written a note of a meeting with gardai in which: "they said that Fergus had asked them to give him immunity if he makes a statement against Alan Wilson and show them the location of the body."

Sgt McAvinchy said this was "nonsense". Mr O'Higgins said Ms Rouse could never have anticipated the note would form part of court proceedings.

Inspector Michael Cryan confirmed nothing had been done to follow up Mr O'Hanlon's claim that he was shot five times in the back in either 2010 or 2011.

Mr O'Higgins said if a witness was making up stories about being shot it went to the heart of his credibility.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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