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Judge issues warning to Brady jury on 'dangerous' testimony via video link

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Aaron Brady is accused of murdering Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe in 2013

Aaron Brady is accused of murdering Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe in 2013

Collins

Aaron Brady is accused of murdering Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe in 2013

The jury in the Adrian Donohoe murder trial have been told it "may be dangerous" to rely on the testimony of a prosecution witness because her evidence was interrupted.

Molly Staunton, who was giving evidence by video link from her New York home, told the trial that she heard the accused, Aaron Brady (29), admit to shooting a cop in Ireland.

Mr Brady, of New Road in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, denies capital murder and robbery at Lordship Credit Union, Dundalk, on January 25, 2013.

Yesterday Mr Justice Michael White, in his fifth day of charging the jury, gave them a warning about Ms Staunton's evidence.

He reminded them of an interruption in their presence, when a man entered the room as she was giving testimony via video link and told her to "put a stop to it" and said "no more testimony".

Leave

The jury were then informed about another incident that occurred prior to this in their absence.

They were told that, as she was about to begin giving evidence, Mr Justice White asked her to turn off a radio in the background and Ms Staunton said to someone: "The judge says you have to leave. I don't want anyone else in the room Seamus."

This man, the judge said, was her friend/boyfriend and became difficult when he was asked to leave.

The jury was told he responded: "Call another boy, you should be with a lawyer."

Molly Staunton told the man to leave and a short time later he told her to "just f***ing do it". The male then said, "tell them what you're supposed to tell them", to which Ms Staunton said: "I'm not telling them."

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Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe

Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe

PA

Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe

The jury was then told that when the judge inquired who was there, she replied: "That was my friend. They have left."

This all took place in their absence, Mr Justice White told the jurors yesterday morning.

He said that, because of the interruption and possible interference, he was giving the jury a warning about Ms Staunton's testimony.

Mr Justice White told the jury it "may be dangerous to rely on her evidence" as a result of the interruption, but added that, if they are convinced beyond reasonable doubt on the truth and reliability of her testimony, they may rely on it.

The court then summarised the evidence of Molly Staunton, who said she heard Aaron Brady say that he had murdered a cop in Ireland. Under cross-examination, defence counsel Fiona Murphy SC put it to Molly Staunton that her client was concerned that gardai were looking for him and that he "never made any admission himself having carried out that shooting", to which the witness said: "That is correct".

Discharged

Under re-examination by prosecution counsel Brendan Grehan SC, after being shown a video of the statement she gave to gardai, the Ms Staunton said: "Now that I have re-seen the video I stand by my statement of what I said. He did say he killed a cop."

A juror was also discharged yesterday by Mr Justice White, meaning there are now 12 remaining on the jury panel.

The juror was excused, with the judge thanking him for his amazing patience and forbearance, and making him exempt him from jury duty for life.

The remaining five men and seven women on the panel have been told that they are expected to begin their deliberations this morning.