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Trial witness video link interrupted as mystery man says: 'stop it now'

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Aaron Brady has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Det Gda Adrian Donohoe

Aaron Brady has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Det Gda Adrian Donohoe

Aaron Brady has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Det Gda Adrian Donohoe

A witness in the trial of a garda murder accused was interrupted while giving evidence via video link from her New York home after an unidentified man entered the room and was heard saying "put a stop to it" and "no more testimony" before the live feed dropped off.

Molly Staunton yesterday continued giving evidence from the US in the trial of Aaron Brady (29), who denies the capital murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe in Co Louth in 2013.

The witness was being re-examined by prosecution counsel Brendan Grehan SC about an evening in the summer of 2016 at Mr Brady's apartment in the Bronx.

Mr Grehan asked Ms Staunton what the accused said that evening.

Distress

The witness replied "he was in distress". While giving her evidence, Ms Staunton then addressed another person who was in the room she was giving her testimony from, saying "can you leave".

An unseen male was then heard saying: "Put a stop to it. You can stop it right now, no more testimony" before the camera was pointed toward the floor and the live feed cut off. The jury was then asked to rise, before returning a short time later.

Ms Staunton then appeared again via video link saying her apartment was now empty and that she was happy to proceed.

Mr Grehan asked the witness what she heard the accused say on that evening in June or July 2016 in the living room of his apartment, which Mr Brady shared with Ms Staunton's then boyfriend Tommy McGeary.

She said she heard Mr Brady say he wanted to be a good father to his son, that there were "cops looking for him and possibly raiding the apartment", and he was "upset".

Ms Staunton then said: "As far as him admitting to killing a cop, I can't say he admitted to it, I thought I heard him saying something along those lines.

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Det Gda Adrian Donohoe

Det Gda Adrian Donohoe

Det Gda Adrian Donohoe

"I know in the statement I said he did, but I can't remember... I don't think he outwardly admitted to that."

An excerpt of a video recording of Ms Staunton giving her statement to two garda detectives in a New York police station on August 29, 2017, was then shown to the jury.

In the clip Ms Staunton tells Detective Sergeant Paul Gill: "Well he definitely said himself that he murdered a cop or a detective."

After the footage was played, the witness told Mr Grehan: "Now that I have re-seen the video I stand by my statement of what I said. He did say he killed a cop."

Under cross-examination, defence counsel Fiona Murphy SC asked the witness who it was that had earlier come into her apartment, to which Ms Staunton said "that was my friend that I'm currently staying with".

Privacy

Asked if this individual closed the computer, the witness said: "No, I closed the computer" and that she "just wanted privacy".

Mr Justice Michael White told the jury of six men and seven women that the trial will continue on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Brady has pleaded not guilty to the capital murder of Adrian Donohoe, who was then a member of An Garda Siochana acting in the course of his duty, at Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Dundalk, Co Louth, on January 25, 2013.

The defendant, of New Road in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, also denies robbery of around €7,000 in cash and assorted cheques from Pat Bellew at the same location on the same date.