Tuesday 25 April 2017

Witness in murder trial has conviction for wasting police time, jury hears

Stephen Cahoon
Stephen Cahoon

Alison O'Riordan

A prosecution witness in the trial of a man accused of murdering a pregnant woman has a conviction for wasting police time, a jury has heard.

Stephen Cahoon (43) with an address at Harvey Street, Derry, Northern Ireland, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Jean Teresa Quigley (30) at Cornshell fields in Derry on July 26th, 2008.

This morning prosecution counsel Mr Patrick Marrinan SC read two statements via video link to Mr James Casey who was giving evidence from Glasgow High Court.

The court heard Mr Casey previously gave these statements to police in Derry on July 29 2008.

In the first statement Mr Casey told police he knew Stephen Cahoon, who is also known as Stephen Moore, for the previous two to three years as he use to drink with him.

In the statement Mr Casey told police that the relationship between Mr Cahoon and Jean Quigley was "rocky" and they argued "all the time".

In the statement Mr Casey told police that early on the morning of July 26 2008, he was woken up by a knock on his front door by a "nervous" and "shaky" Stephen Moore who told him he "thought he did something wrong to Jean."

"He cried and was upset and I told him to wait at the front door. He said he hit her a few times and grabbed her by the arm and took her upstairs," said Mr Casey.

"He kicked her and slapped her a few times in the head and said he taped her mouth to stop her screaming. Stephen was stressed out and his light coloured t shirt had bits of blood on the front. I was very scared that someone who I believed to be a friend would do something to a woman especially with kids, " he said.

Mr Marrinan then asked the witness if this statement was signed by him at the time, which Mr Casey replied it was.

This afternoon defence counsel Mr Michael O’Higgins SC cross examined Mr Casey and said the case he was putting forward was that Mr Cahoon never went to his house that night.

Mr O'Higgins said he would be asking him questions about his memory and his "previous form in this area" , wasting police time and "going to police and telling them a pack of lies."

"You have in fact a conviction for wasting police time where you went to them and told them a pack of lies. This happened more than once didn’t it?" asked counsel.

"Yes" replied Mr Casey.

Counsel asked the witness if he was asked a number of questions when he went to police on July 28 2008.

"They pressured me the police and kept me for six hours," he replied.

The defence counsel then asked the witness if was lying to police about the account he gave them.

"Because of the pressure all the time, they were saying they would keep me there for a long time," said Mr Casey.

"Would it surprise you when you were reinterviewed on August 1, you told them that previous detectives had threatened to take you into a room and give you a good kicking?" asked Mr O'Higgins.

"That’s the usual in my experience," he said.

"So if you perceive them to be pressurising you, you just tell them lies?" asked counsel.

"Yes" replied Mr Casey.

"Why Mr Casey were you lying to the police, can you help us?" asked counsel.

"Not really no, I was scared," replied the witness.

Defence counsel then put it to Mr Casey that "six or seven times" in the past he has gone to police and told them stories.

"Did you ever go to police and invent a story?" asked counsel.

"Yes sometimes. Four times," he replied.

Mr O'Higgins then asked Mr Casey if he was an alcoholic.

Mr Casey replied saying he was and he can have up to fifteen cans a day as well as four to five pints.

"Are you saying under oath that a police man threatened you?" asked Mr O'Higgins.

"I was threatened yes," replied the witness.

Mr O'Higgins then asked Mr Casey if Mr Cahoon went to his house on the night or the early morning of July 26.

"He wasn’t at my house," said Mr Casey

"Does it follow all the accounts you gave to police are lies?" asked counsel.

"I was threatened yes," he replied.

Counsel then asked Mr Casey if he wasted police time "to get attention".

Mr Casey said he did.

The trial continues on Thursday morning.

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