herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Witness wanted €10k and relocation

A prosecution witness in the trial of three men accused of the murder of dissident republican Peter Butterly, wanted to be relocated and receive €10k in return for his evidence.

The Special Criminal Court has heard how a former co- accused was transformed into a prosecution witness in the trial of three men charged with the murder of Mr Butterly.

Edward McGrath (32), of Land Dale Lawns, Springfield, Tallaght, Dean Evans (22), of Grange Park Rise, Raheny, and Sharif Kelly (43) of Pinewood Green Road, Balbriggan pleaded not guilty to the murder of Peter Butterly (35), who was shot dead in the car park of the Huntsman Inn at Gormanston, Co Meath, on March 6, 2013.

Mr Evans and Mr McGrath have also pleaded not guilty to firearm offences on the same date.

The Special Criminal Court has heard that Mr Butterly (inset)was "lured" to the car park of the Huntsman Inn by a man not before the court and shots were discharged from a Toyota Corolla vehicle in his direction.

EVIDENCE

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecution, Ms Úna Ní Raifeartaigh SC, said the DPP's case would call on forensic evidence, firearm residue evidence, DNA evidence and also evidence from Mr David Cullen (30), with a last address at Brackenwood Ave, Balbriggan.

The senior investigating garda officer in the case told of events leading to Mr Cullen's "transformation from a co-accused to a prosecution witness".

Det Insp Alf Martyn told the court that Mr Cullen's solicitor contacted a senior detective in the case in June this year with definitive instructions to put a proposal to gardaí.

operation

David Cullen told gardaí through his solicitor that he could provide detail around the murder of Peter Butterly, "effectively who masterminded the operation, who involved themselves with the stolen car [and] who involved themselves with the gun".

Mr Cullen instructed his solicitor to tell gardaí he wanted some form of immunity from Mr Butterly's murder prosecution, Det Insp Martyn said.

At a meeting on June 29, the date on which all four co-accused were due to go on trial for the Butterly murder, "words were said to the effect that Mr Cullen was concerned with three items: witness protection, financial maintenance and relocation".

Later on that day, Det Insp Martyn said, "the DPP gave us the go ahead to engage with Mr Cullen". On September 3 Mr Cullen's solicitor contacted the gardai to say his client was getting agitated around the lack of progress in his application to the witness programme.

"Effectively merely what he wanted was a sum total of €10k and a move to some place else," Det Insp Martyn. The case continues on Tuesday.

hnews@herald.ie

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