Saturday 22 November 2014

Man charged with murder of dissident Peter Butterly to give evidence against co-accused, court told

Published 01/07/2014 | 14:15

A forensics team examines bullet holes in a Renault Laguna after dissident republican Peter Butterly was shot in broad daylight

A Dublin man who was charged with the murder dissident republican Peter Butterly is to be a prosecution witness and give evidence against his three co-accused at trial, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

David Cullen (29), of Brackenwood Ave, Balbriggan and his co-accused Edward McGrath (32), of Land Dale Lawns, Springfield, Tallaght, Dean Evans (22), of Grange Park Rise, Raheny, and Sharif Kelly (43) of Pinewood Green Road, Balbriggan were last year charged with the murder of Peter Butterly.

Butterly, a 35-year-old father of two, was shot dead in the car park of the Huntsman Inn at Gormanston, Co Meath, on March 6th, 2013.

Ms Una Ni Refeartaigh SC, for the State, this morning told the non-jury court that since the matter had been listed for trial a “development” took place, whereby David Cullen made contact with gardai and indicated a willingness to give evidence on behalf of the prosecution.

She said Mr Cullen last Friday gave a voluntary statement giving details of the offences and the involvement of certain people. Counsel said Mr Cullen indicated he would plead guilty to an offence under Section 27A of the Firearms Act and this was acceptable to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Ms Ni Refeartiagh told the court that the Director wished to call Mr Cullen as a witness in the case against the three other accused. She said Mr Cullen’s case was to be put back until tomorrow for arraignment and sentence, and the prosecution had taken the view that it was not appropriate for Mr Cullen to give evidence unless and until he was sentenced.

Counsel for Dean Evans, Mr Hugh Hartnett SC, told the court that his client had no difficulty to the trial being adjourned on July 31 – when the court breaks for long vacation - until the last week in September or first week in October. Counsel for Mr Kelly and McGrath also said they had no objection.

Mr McGrath, Mr Evans and Mr Kelly were then arraigned where they each pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Butterly at the Huntsman Inn on March 6th, 2013.

Mr Evans and Mr McGrath pleaded not guilty to the unlawful possession of a 9mm calibre Beretta model 9000s semi-automatic pistol and seven rounds of 9mm parabellum calibre ammunition at same address on the same date.

The pair also pleaded not guilty to the unlawful possession of a 9mm calibre Beretta model 9000s semi-automatic pistol and seven rounds of ammunition with intent to endanger life at the car park of The Huntsman Inn on the same date.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler said the court would put the matter back until Thursday, when it is anticipated the prosecution will open its case.

The trial has been brought before the Special Criminal Court as the Director of Public Prosecutions has certified the ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the administration of justice.

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