A MAN who unwittingly gave a lift to men disposing of a dead body has been jailed for two years for failing to disclose information to gardai.
Hayrush Rama (35) initially told gardai he knew nothing about the killing but later told them he had been in fear for his life after discovering the man, Peter Gunn (28), had in fact been murdered.
Rama thought Mr Gunn was asleep in the car.
Rama, of Rathgar Road, Rathgar, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to withholding information from gardai between January 4, 2009 and June 17, 2009. He has one previous conviction.
Judge Martin Nolan noted that having been reared in Kosovo, Rama may have had a greater reluctance to talk to the police than an Irish citizen but said he was legally and morally obliged to tell the gardai what he knew. He imposed a two year jail term.
“I am aware he did not go looking for trouble, trouble came to his door,” said Judge Nolan, “but when it came he behaved inappropriately.”
Garda John O’Hara told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that following the receipt of confidential information on January 15, 2009, gardai searched a rural area at the back of Dublin Airport and found the body of a male partly submerged in water.
The deceased man, Mr Gunn, had been reported missing earlier that month and gardai launched a murder investigation.
It was believed Mr Gunn had left a pub on Parnell Street in the company of a number of people and gone to a flat in Cabra. The garda investigation led to the arrest of four people including Rama.
One man, Kastriot Boza, has already been sentenced for his role by Mr Justice Paul Carney at the Central Criminal Court. He received a six year sentence with the final two years suspended last February on charges of impeding a murder investigation.
Gda O’Hara said Boza was responsible for cleaning up the scene and disposing of the weapon.
Two other men, “Mr A” and “Mr B”, have yet to come before the courts. Gardai believe “Mr A” was responsible for the murder of Mr Gunn and “Mr B” had helped clean up the scene after the murder.
Gardai searched Rama’s flat on March 16, 2009 and he told them that he knew nothing about the murder. He was later arrested in June following the receipt of further information.
Rama told gardai during interview that he had received a phone call from Boza one morning who asked him to come and give him a lift because he didn’t know anyone else with a car.
Rama said he drove to an address in Cabra and three people came out of the house. Boza was carrying a male and told Rama the man had been drinking and taking cocaine.
This man, who was the deceased Mr Gunn, had a hoodie up covering his head and lay on Boza’s shoulder as if he was asleep.
Rama drove down back roads until he was directed to stop by “Mr A.” Boza and “Mr A” carried the man out of the car and returned without him five minutes later. They told Rama the man had gone home.
Rama spoke to Boza on the phone later that evening and Boza told him the man was dead and had been killed by “Mr A.” He told Rama they would both be killed if he said anything.
The following day Rama told Boza he would be going to the gardai but Boza again told him they would be killed. Rama said he was afraid of Boza.
He said he had not told gardai anything when they came to his flat because he was afraid for his life.
Gda O’Hara agreed with Micháel O’Higgins SC, defending, that Rama had “unwittingly” become involved by giving a lift to the men and the first he realised what had happened was when Boza told him the man was dead.
Gda O’Hara agreed with Mr O’Higgins that Rama’s fears for his safety may be genuine and well founded.
Mr O’Higgins said Rama had been in Ireland since 1996 due to the war in his homeland and had been a useful and contributing member of society.
He said Rama hugely regrets not telling the gardai what he knew when the opportunity presented itself as they searched his flat.