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Monday 18 December 2017

'It was all lies' - man refuses to testify at double murder trial

Accused Jason O’Driscoll
Accused Jason O’Driscoll

A witness in a double murder trial refused to give evidence in court yesterday, telling the judge: "It was all lies I told on him."

Richie Cullinan was called to give evidence for the State in the trial of a 34-year-old Dubliner charged with murdering two car thieves five-and-a-half years ago.

Jason O'Driscoll, of Richmond Avenue, Fairview, Dublin 3, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Anthony Burnett (31) and Joseph Redmond (25) in Co Louth on March 7, 2012.

The trial at the Central Criminal Court has heard that firefighters were called to a burning car in Ravensdale Forest Park shortly before 11pm.

The bodies of the two Dubliners were discovered inside the vehicle, with gunshot wounds to their heads.

Alexander Owens, prosecuting, called Mr Cullinan as his first witness yesterday morning.

However, when he was asked to stand to take the oath, he refused.

"It was all lies I told on him," he said.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy asked Mr Cullinan if he was refusing to take the oath or affirmation, and he said he was.

The judge told him that, if he refused to give evidence, it would be a contempt of court and that he could punish him.

"So, I'm ordering you to take the oath," he said.

"It was all lies," replied Mr Cullinan.

"So, you're refusing to do it for whatever reason?" asked the judge again.

"Yeah," he said.

The judge asked the jury to excuse them. When they returned, the State moved on to other technical evidence.

Imprisoned

Mr Cullinan is the second witness in the trial to refuse to take the oath and give evidence. On Wednesday, Crystal Jackson refused to swear.

"I don't stand by my statement, your honour," she said.

Mr Owens submitted that she was "in clear contempt of the court and should be imprisoned until she purges her contempt".

The judge asked the jurors to excuse them on that occasion too.

They heard evidence from other witnesses on their return.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of eight men and four women.

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