Friday 20 October 2017

Exhibits in assault trial have been lost, court told

Sonya McLean

THE trial of an Army captain and a manager of a security company accused of assaulting their friend has heard that exhibits in the case have been lost.

Captain Kenneth Cooney (36) and Dara Mac Giolla Ri (37) have pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Colm Croghan (38) at their home in Sarsfield Street, Limerick on October 17, 2009.

The jury was told that an iron bar allegedly used as a weapon during the assault, notes of the accused's men interview with gardai, and videos of those interviews were missing.

The court heard that the first garda on the scene Gda Neil Cepeda -- who dealt with Mr Croghan before calling to the accused men's house -- had been trained by Capt Cooney 14 years previously, while the accused was a lieutenant and he was a recruit.

Gda Cepeda told Breffni Gordon counsel for Capt Cooney, that he did not refer to this in his statement because he did not feel it was relevant as they had not met in 14 years.

Washed

Gda Cepeda said he had taken an iron bar from the behind the front door of the men's apartment that night but never sent it for forensic analysis to determine if there was DNA or fingerprints on it.

He identified that bar in court before the jury.

He told the court he had been advised by a colleague in his station's crime scene unit that because it appeared that the bar had been washed, there would be no point in getting it examined.

Gda Cepeda agreed that there were two bars photographed as exhibits in the garda station but only one was available as an exhibit in the case.

He said he did not know where the second one was.

"It was investigated to the best of my ability at the time," Gda Cepeda said.

He had been a garda for three years at the time of the incident.

The alleged assault victim had earlier told the jury that Capt Cooney held him down on a couch while Mr Mac Giolla Ri, hit him on the back of a head with a metal object, opening his skull.

The jury heard that Capt Cooney claims that Mr Croghan had been aggressive towards him in the house and that he had attempted to calm him down.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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