Saturday 10 December 2016

Murder plot fell apart when victim's girlfriend attacked shooter and his alleged gang abandoned him, trial hears

Published 04/03/2016 | 17:48

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

A murder plot fell apart when the victim's girlfriend attacked the shooter and his alleged gang abandoned him, the prosecution at a murder trial said at the Central Criminal Court today.

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Gary Flynn (31), of Rossfield Drive in Tallaght has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Seamus 'Shay' O'Byrne at Tymon Park North in Tallaght on March 13, 2009.

Prosecution counsel Alex Owens SC summed up the prosecution's case saying Mr Flynn is "inextricably linked" to the gang that killed Mr O'Byrne. He cited CCTV footage, mobile phone and forensic evidence as proof beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Flynn was working with the gang to carry out the murder.

He told the jury that Garrett O'Brien, who has already been convicted of shooting Mr O'Byrne, was tackled to the ground by Mr O'Byrne's girlfriend Sharon Rattigan,

He said the other alleged gang members, waiting in cars nearby, at first tried to drive to his rescue but then sped off. "Poor Mr O'Brien was left behind," he said, adding that he took a "trouncing" from Ms Rattigan. "We don't know how he got back to the Red Cow to collect his motor car but we do know that the others were long gone at that stage."

He said other members of the alleged gang, including Mr Flynn, fled across the city to Coolock where they were identified on CCTV cameras. Garrett O'Brien, who was the shooter who was tackled by Ms Rattigan, went to his home in Bray.

Mr Flynn was arrested later that night travelling in a Silver Primera with Eugene Cullen, who was later convicted of Mr O'Byrne's murder.

He told the jury that evidence given by policing analyst Sarah Skedd showed that various phones belonging to members of the alleged gang were traced to the scene of the crime and later to various locations around Dublin.

Mr Owens said that Mr Flynn is linked to the shooting by several pieces of circumstantial evidence that, when combined, establish his guilt.

He reminded the jury of the evidence given by Liam Fleury of the Forensic Science Laboratory who found evidence of gunshot residue on both cuffs of a hoodie that Mr Flynn was wearing when arrested hours after the shooting. He said the only explanation for that residue is that Mr Flynn was in contact with the gun and suggested that he may have test-fired the weapon.

Mr Owens said a mobile phone that was used to make dozens of calls and texts to other phones used by the killers on the night of the shooting was linked to Mr Flynn by CCTV footage; the jury was shown a recording that Detective Garda Michael McGrath said showed Mr Flynn buying credit for the suspect phone at a Topaz garage on the Fortfield Road less than two hours before Mr O'Byrne was shot.

CCTV from that same garage showed Mr Flynn arriving in a Nissan Primera and going into the shop to buy the phone credit. It is the prosecution's case that he got back into the Primera which then drove to Tymon Park to accompany Garrett O'Brien to kill Mr O'Byrne.

Defence counsel Giollaíosa Ó'Lideadha SC said that while Mr Flynn bought credit for the phone, there is no evidence that he ever used the phone. He also said there is no evidence that he got back into the Primera after buying the credit. Mr O'Lideadha said the mobile phone records showed that the same phone was used to make a call while Mr Flynn was in the Topaz shop. He said this proved "beyond reasonable doubt" and to "mathematical certainty" that the phone was used by someone other than Mr Flynn. He said the most likely person to have been using the phone was Eugene Cullen. Mr O'Lideadha said it is perfectly credible that Mr Flynn could have bought the phone credit for Eugene Cullen, handed it over to him and then remained at the Topaz garage while Mr Cullen left in the Primera.

"There is a high degree of probability that he must have handed the top-up to the people in the car," he said. "That is entirely different to saying that he got in to the car."

Mr Flynn was caught on CCTV footage with Mr Cullen at 8:50pm at Leisureplex in Coolock, a little over two hours after the Primera left the Topaz garage and some 35 minutes after the shooting. Mr O'Lideadha said this showed that Mr Flynn was with Mr Cullen before the shooting and after it, but not during. He said it is reasonable to think that he could have traveled to Coolock on his own.

He told the jury that his client should not be convicted "on the basis that he was friends with Eugene Cullen."

"He has committed the offence of being friends with Eugene Cullen," he continued. "Eugene Cullen was with him before the shooting and was with him after and that makes him guilty?"

Comparing his client to members of the Birmingham Six, he told the jury that they should not allow their distaste for gangland to prejudice their decision. He said the Birmingham Six were wrongly convicted because of the actions of a few Irish people in England and that his client should not suffer by association in the same way.

Mr O'Lideadha will continue his summary in front of Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of nine men and three women on Monday.

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