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Shane accused offered us deal to free lover -- garda

THE suspect accused of shooting Shane Geoghegan wasn't coerced into making a confession after a deal was offered to release his girlfriend, a detective sergeant said.

Det Sgt Mark Philips has denied using the mother of Barry Doyle's sick child, who has a hole in the heart, as bait to induce him to confess to murdering the rugby player.

Det Sgt Philips, of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, was being cross examined by Martin O'Rourke, who is defending 25-year-old Doyle at the Central Criminal Court.



Mistaken

Father-of-three Doyle, with addresses at Portland Row, Dublin; and Hyde Road, Limerick, has denied murder on November 9, 2008.

Mr Geoghegan (28) was shot in a suspected case of mistaken identity near his home in Clonmore, Kilteragh, Limerick.

Det Sgt Philips agreed that Doyle's solicitor, Michael O'Donnell, approached him and his colleague on February 24, 2009 in Bruff Garda Station, where his client was being detained.

He said Mr O'Donnell had come to them with a 'deal' after consulting with Doyle and had asked them not to take notes.

"He said that Barry Doyle would admit to killing Shane Geoghegan if Victoria Gunnery would be released," said Det Sgt Philips. Ms Gunnery was arrested on suspicion of possessing information around the same time that Doyle was arrested.

"We told him that there was no way this would happen," the detective sergeant continued.

He recalled Mr O'Donnell saying that Doyle would answer only one question, that he'd committed the murder. He said he and his colleague had refused this proposal because they had to know he was telling the truth and not just making an admission to get his partner released.

He said that Mr O'Donnell said his client would not admit to anything prior to her release and suggested that they could arrest her again afterwards.

Det Sgt Philips said they had told Mr O'Donnell that this would be inducement and any admissions made this way wouldn't stand up in court.

He said that Mr O'Donnell returned to his client before coming back to the gardai and telling them that Doyle would not admit to the murder and would say nothing.

Mr O'Rourke suggested that Det Sgt Philips was not being truthful about what happened and suggested that he had induced his client.

"Let me tell you why you're lying," said Mr O'Rourke. The only problem the investigators had with the deal was the sequence; they wanted the admissions before Ms Gunnery's release, not afterwards, he said.



BLATANT

"That's totally inaccurate," replied Det Sgt Philips. "It was blatant what Mr O'Donnell brought to the table ... It was blatant that it was illegal."

"I suggest you're not being truthful to the jury because you know what you were doing was unlawful," said Mr O'Rourke.

"This was inducement ... using his girlfriend and the mother of his sick child as bait.

"This whole deal was an inducement and was completely rejected and Mr O'Donnell understood," replied the investigator.

He agreed that the defendant admitted to the shooting in the next interview, but said there was no connection.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie