Wednesday 26 November 2014

Murder trial witness tells court he 'felt like he was being set up by deceased'

Published 06/05/2014 | 19:05

Gardai at the scene of Shane Rossiter's shooting in October, 2012.

A witness in the trial of a man accused of murdering 29-year-old Shane Rossiter has told the court that he felt like he was being “set up” by the deceased.

Maurice Power (31) of Dranganbeg, Kilmoyler, Cahir has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Mr Rossiter in Co. Tipperary on October 17, 2012.

The prosecution alleges the accused fired two shots at Mr Rossiter causing him catastrophic injuries, which lead to his death.

Mr Anthony Sammon SC prosecuting told the court in his opening speech that the events took place at around 6.30am following a house party in Church Lane, Golden, Co Tipperary.

A call reporting the shooting was made to gardai by a man identifying himself a number of times as Paul McCarthy who had run away and hid.

Today Mr McCarthy, who the court heard is now in custody, gave evidence that he was in the bedroom of the house in Church Lane when Mr Rossiter asked him to go outside.

The witness said that when he went out of the house he saw the barrel of a gun coming out of a car window and he ran.

He told Mr Sammon he heard one gunshot and said “I ran, I just kept running. I ran a few minutes and I hid”.

The witness said he then rang the emergency services.

Mr McCarthy told the court he took valium, cocaine and weed that night.

He denied that he had called for weed to be delivered the house.

Under cross-examination by Mr Dominic McGinn SC defending, Mr McCarthy agreed that he had left Dublin for Tipperary because someone had threatened his life.

He further agreed that he had been in contact with gardai in Sundrive Road in Crumlin over the threat.

He also agreed he previously told gardai that when Mr Rossiter asked him to go outside he thought he was trying to set him up.

Mr McCarthy said he did not know if Mr Rossiter took the protection of arming himself when he went outside after him.

The witness denied that he told gardai he walked out before Mr Rossiter, went over to the car and spoke to the passenger before he saw the gun.

The court heard evidence Mr McCarthy told gardai he was talking to the passenger in the car and said he saw a sawn-off shotgun on the passenger side of the window.

He agreed with Mr McGinn that he thought he was being set up and that is why he ran away.

Mr McCarthy said he was out of his head on drugs at the time and could not tell the emergency services call controller Mr Rossiter’s name.

“The reality is you don’t have any memory of it at all,” said Mr McGinn to which the witness replied “no”.

He also said he could not remember telling a woman in the house to take drugs out of Mr Rossiter’s pockets before gardai came.

“I don’t remember that night at all, I told you I took that many drugs,” said Mr McCarthy.

He further agreed with Mr McGinn that in all the statements he made to gardai he was “telling them what they wanted to hear.”

State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy previously told the court that she carried out a post mortem examination on Mr Rossiter at Waterford Regional Hospital.

She told Mr Sammon there were two shotgun entry wounds to the chest and abdomen with no exit wounds, causing devastating internal injuries and blood loss into his chest cavity.

Prof Cassidy said the cause of death was shotgun wounds to the chest and abdomen, blood loss and injuries to the right lung, heart, liver, spleen, bowel, aorta and inferior vena cava.

The pathologist said Mr Rossiter was likely to have collapsed immediately after he was injured.

The trial continues tomorrow before a jury of seven women and five men with Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy presiding.

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