Tuesday 17 October 2017

'No deals on offer' to witness in Marioara investigation, court told

Marioara Rostas
Marioara Rostas

Andrew Phelan

A SENIOR garda in the Marioara Rostas murder investigation has said there were “no deals on offer” before a key witness came forward to show them where she was buried.

Superintendent JJ Keane has said witness Fergus O’Hanlon never asked for immunity from prosecution before helping locate the body and making a statement against murder accused Alan Wilson.

He was giving evidence to the Central Criminal Court today at the trial of Mr Wilson (35), who denies murdering Marioara (18).

Mr Wilson (35), of New Street Gardens, Dublin 8, has pleaded not guilty to the murder at Brabazon Street, The Coombe, between January 7 and 8, 2008.

She went missing while begging in traffic in Dublin city centre on January 6 that year and her body was found in a shallow grave in woods in the Kippure-Sally Gap area on the Dublin/Wicklow border four years later, on January 23, 2012.

Mr O’Hanlon, a former friend of the accused, has alleged that when he returned to his home on January 8, 2008, Mr Wilson showed him Marioara's dead body. He has alleged he helped Mr Wilson dispose of her remains.

The jury has already heard Mr O’Hanlon was granted immunity from prosecution but the certificate did not issue from the DPP until two days into the trial.

Supt Keane told the jury he met Mr O’Hanlon’s solicitor Bridget Rouse in December 2011, after which Mr O’Hanlon was interviewed.

In January, he went to the woodlands where Mr O’Hanlon showed gardai the location where Marioara was buried.

Cross-examined by Michael O’Higgins, for the defence, he denied that the issue of immunity from prosecution was brought up by either him or Mr OHanlon.

“He was looking for no deals whatsoever, no deals were on offer,” Supt Keane said. “I never heard the word immunity mentioned. I never said the word.”

Mr O’Higgins then produced a memo taken by Ms Rouse at a meeting with gardai in which she noted that Mr O'Hanlon "had asked them to give him immunity if he made a statement against Alan Wilson and showed them the location of the body.”

Supt Keane repeated that “immunity never came into it.”

A now-retired superintendent involved in the murder investigation denied that Mr O’Hanlon was “glad handled” in the run up to Alan Wilson’s trial.

Retired Detective Superintendent Gabriel O’Gara said he was not aware of any “tactical” reason why Mr O’Hanlon’s immunity from prosecution was withheld by the DPP until the trial got underway.

The jury also heard that Mr O'Hanlon was given a suspended sentence for charges in the district court after Supt O'Gara gave evidence to a judge stating that he was assisting gardai with an investigation.

The trial continues.

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