Dundon and Killeen to get any garda recordings in advance of Roy Collins murder trial
THE Special Criminal Court has ordered the disclosure of any recordings made between gardai and civilian witnesses during the investigation in two Limerick men charged with murdering businessman Roy Collins.
Wayne Dundon (35), of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect, and Nathan Killeen (23), of Hyde Road, Prospect, are charged with the murder of Mr Collins (35) at Coin Castle Amusements, Roxboro Road Shopping Centre, Limerick on April 9th, 2009.
They are due to stand trial at the non-jury court on April 29 before presiding judge Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley.
Last week counsel for Mr Killeen, Mr Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, told the court that there were outstanding issues on disclosure, and among these was a defence request for disclosure of all communications between garda stations and amongst prosecution witnesses, some of whom were in prison at the time.
Counsel for the State, Mr Sean Guerin SC, today told the court that the accused men were in custody in garda stations where there were either no recording facilities or where the only calls recorded were those received on an extension in a secure communications room, such as 999 calls.
He said other calls may have been received but these were transferred to another extension, whereby recording technically ceased. Mr Guerin said accused persons would never be in a secure communications room, or make or receive calls from their solicitor from this room.
Counsel said that the request for recordings of telephone calls made by prosecution witnesses while in prison was “very broad”, did not seem to be justified and did not seem to address the question of relevance.
Mr Remy Farrell SC, for Mr Dundon, said his client was also seeking recordings of any calls between gardai and prosecution witnesses, as it was a matter of relevance how the witnesses came to make statements and what the background was.
He said that although it was an open situation as to whether these recordings exist, it was a “notorious fact” that in “certain high profile civil proceedings” gardai put in place procedures to ascertain “whether a person who wasn’t prosecuted was the victim of untoward activity” and whether there were recordings that could cast some light on this.
It would be “rather strange”, Mr Farrell said, if the same resources were not devoted to ascertain whether there was untoward communication between gardai and witnesses in the case of someone facing a murder charge in an actual prosecution.
Mr O’Lideadha submitted that any recordings of phone calls between gardai and the prosecution witnesses, some of whom were in prison at different times, were clearly and demonstrably relevant because the defence would be challenging the reliability of those witnesses.
Counsel said there may be evidence of things that may have amounted to motivation, apparent motivation, inducement or encouragement to make potential allegations.
He said the defence were also seeking disclosure of other items, including videos of interviews with the prosecution witnesses in the case.
Mr O’Lideadha asked for a ruling from the court as to whether or not potentially relevant recordings of conversations over the telephone should be disclosed.
He also asked the court for a ruling as to whether it accepted the video of interviews sought were appropriate for disclosure for the proper conduct and operation of the defence.
On the disclosure issue, Ms Justice O’Malley said the court would order that any material in relation to contact between gardai and civilian non-expert witnesses, as regards telephone recordings where that occurred, should be disclosed.
With regard to interviews, Ms Justice O’Malley said it seemed to the court that videos of interviews with prosecution witnesses in relation to the investigation should be released to the defendants’ solicitors, to be kept at their offices until the close of the trial.
She said the court did not consider it necessary or appropriate that videos of interviews with other suspects or of prosecution witnesses in relation to other investigations be disclosed.
Ms Justice O’Malley acceded to applications from Mr O’Lideadha for an order under Section 56 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007 for a copy of any recording of the questioning of Mr Killeen during his detention, as well as an application to certify a second junior counsel in the case.