Saturday 20 December 2014

Prosecutor tells jury at trial of Shane Rossiter's murder they can 'happily convict' accused

Published 30/05/2014 | 18:45

The jury at the murder trial of a man accused of shooting Shane Rossiter have been told they can ‘happily convict’ the accused because the evidence is ‘compelling’.

Maurice Power (31) of Dranganbeg, Kilmoyler, Cahir has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Rossiter (29) in Tipperary on October 17 2012.

In his closing speech at the Central Criminal Court this morning, Mr Anthony Sammon SC prosecuting reminded the jury that the case involves both circumstantial and confessional evidence.

Mr Sammon spoke of Mr Powers car being seen ‘burning in a bog’ as being central to evidence.

He referenced the evidence of Sharon O' Donnell questioning why Mr Power would come to her asking for the chip from her CCTV system. 

Counsel went on to say that Mr Power made a very detailed confession in the course of interviewing in which he confirms the items of circumstantial evidence. 

The jury were reminded of other matters consistent with guilt such as the disposal of Mr Powers mobile phone as well as his own reference made to gardai about shooting Shane Rossiter twice.

Mr Sammon pointed out that there had been an approach by ‘the other side of the house’ to create suspician in relation to the gardai suggesting there was some form of impropriety.

He told the jury that there was no evidence of a policy being used by gardai and that they must not try this case on any form of speculation.

“What comes from the mouth of a barrister is not evidence even if it is tarted up with the words ‘I am instructed’.”

“Interview seven is where he (the accused) gives a full confession. It is quite apparent that Mr Power is relaxed – that is not a man who has been subjected to any form of coercion.”

Mr Sammon concluded that ‘this is a man who is very relieved’ and ‘no longer has to look over his shoulder because there is no Mr Rossiter’.

“You are not jurors dealing with a case where you have to struggle – you can happily convict Mr Power because the evidence is compelling.”

Mr Dominic McGinn SC defending said that just because the jury saw the seventh interview where Mr Power admitted to shooting Shane Rossiter does not make it reliable.

“The fact that somebody appears relaxed does not mean they are telling the truth or that they have not come to some arrangement with the guards.”

Mr McGinn went on to say that there was a pattern in the process of interview between gardai and the accused.

“There was a pattern where before the interview, the interviewers would take Mr Power into the yard for a chat.”

“You heard the witness say it was a manpower issue. On the 11 of December, Mr Power was supervised on each cigarette break – there was no manpower problem at that stage. In the first two interviews, Mr Power didn’t make any admissions.”

“Then the situation changed on the 12, 13 and 14 and there was a manpower shortage.  It was only prior to each of the interviews that interviewing guards were the ones that took him out to the yard.”

“The really worrying thing is that many of the details, things you would expect he would get right, don’t fit with what we do know.”

Mr McGinn went on to say that the details the accused gave to gardai of where Mr Rossiter was shot were not in keeping with the evidence of the state pathologist.

“He (the accused) said the first shot was to Mr Rossiters chest and indicated that he held on to his chest when shot. That doesn’t correspond with being shot in the abdomen a very different place.”

“If he had done the shooting, you would expect him to know. It is not in keeping with expert evidence from professor Cassidy.

Mr McGinn asked the jury why ‘if he is opening his soul’ to gardai, why he seemed unable to help with certain details.

He asked the jury to consider why the gun couldn’t be recovered.

When it came to removing the chip from a security camera, Mr McGinn pointed out that it wasn’t the accused who had first made an inquiry about it.

“Independent evidence is equally consistent with any number of people carrying out the shooting – there is no direct evidence apart from the confession that he did the shooting himself.”

“Mr Power was not clear and because of these mistakes, I suggest that there is no evidence that he was actually there.”

Mr McGinn concluded asking jury members whether based on the confession made against a background of consistent off camera contact (with gardai) that if he (the accused) were your son, father, brother or close friend, that they would be happy to see him convicted.

“Seeing the confession on tape in the absence of any other real evidence, you don’t even have to conclude that Mr Power was there.”

The jury of seven women and five men will return next Tuesday to begin deliberating following the judges charge by Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy presiding.

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