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Don't rule out manslaughter verdict, Brady barrister tells jurors at garda murder trial

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Aaron Brady denies the murder of Adrian Donohoe

Aaron Brady denies the murder of Adrian Donohoe

Aaron Brady denies the murder of Adrian Donohoe

Aaron Brady's defence counsel has told jury members a manslaughter verdict is open to them if they find the shot that killed Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was a warning fired by his client.

Michael O'Higgins concluded his closing speech on behalf of the accused, who denies capital murder and robbery at Lordship Credit Union on January 25, 2013.

Addressing the jury yesterday, Mr O'Higgins criticised the garda investigation and said it was "beyond comprehension" that aspects of his client's acc-ount, which the defence says are "very significant", were never checked.

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This was simply done, he said, because the senior investigating officer, Pat Marry, "didn't believe" Mr Brady was at a diesel-laundering yard.

Mr Brady says he was moving laundered fuel waste cubes at a yard on Concession Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, for 90 minutes at the time of the robbery, and Mr O'Higgins said gardai never asked the PSNI to search that site.

Counsel told the Central Criminal Court the prosecution had come to court with a "highly sculpted" and "editorialised" case against his client.

Mr O'Higgins said it is the defence case that Mr Brady was not at the credit union at the time of the robbery, and therefore was not involved in the crime.

He added that if the jury do find he was one of the robbers, they have a number of verdicts open to them, including capital murder, murder and manslaughter.

He said they can also find him guilty of robbery but not guilty in relation to the death of Det Gda Donohoe.

He pointed to the evidence of Det Gda Joe Ryan, who said the man with the shotgun was around six-foot-one. Mr Brady, he said, has been measured at five-foot-seven to five-foot-nine.

The jury were also told they had to be sure beyond reasonable doubt that the gunman knew or was reckless to the fact that Mr Donohoe was a garda acting in the course of his duty at the time in relation to capital murder.

Mr O'Higgins said Det Gda Ryan's evidence was that the robbers shouted at him "Give me the f**king money" and asked if this was consistent with them knowing they were guards.

In relation to a manslaughter verdict, he said CCTV footage shows the man with the shotgun recoil, suggesting someone inexperienced with a firearm.

He said if the jury found it was a warning shot, then that, while reprehensible, results in an unlawful killing or manslaughter, not murder.

Mr O'Higgins described the circumstantial prosecution case as "smoke and mirrors", adding: "There is smoke, but where is the fire?"

He asked the jury to stress test the arguments made by the defence.

Mr O'Higgins also asked the jury if the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

"In my respectful submiss- ion, it has not," he said.

Mr Justice Michael White then began his charge to the jury.

Accidental

He said that in relation to the shot being a warning shot or an accidental discharge, it was open to the jury to find, if intention to kill or cause serious harm is not proved, that the correct verdict would be manslaughter.

He added that, in his view, it would be unusual, but this was only his opinion and it was a matter for the jury.

Yesterday was the 112th day of the trial, with evidence being heard in front of the jury over 66 days.

In total, 132 witnesses were called by the prosecution, with many giving evidence over several days or being recalled, while the defence called seven witnesses.

Mr Justice Michael White's charge will continue today.