Tuesday 12 December 2017

Death-accused asked witnesses to delete CCTV footage, court told

Members of the gardai at the scene where Jay Saunders (inset) was found injured in Cabra. The victim died later of his injuries
Members of the gardai at the scene where Jay Saunders (inset) was found injured in Cabra. The victim died later of his injuries

Tom Tuite

A man charged in connection with the death of Jason 'Jay' Saunders allegedly asked witnesses to destroy CCTV evidence, a court was told.

Paul Brannigan was refused bail yesterday after he was charged with using a golf club as a weapon during an attack on Mr Saunders who died following a St Patrick's Day party in Dublin.

The court was told that he allegedly asked witnesses to destroy CCTV evidence and claims he was acting in self-defence during the incident on Tuesday morning.

At about 7.30am on March 18, gardai were alerted when 21-year-old Jason Saunders was found on the ground outside a shop at Fassaugh Avenue, in Cabra after leaving a party at a flat nearby.

The young Cabra man, who displayed trauma to his upper body area and had serious head injuries, was rushed to the Mater Hospital but was pronounced dead soon after his arrival.

The 22-year-old unemployed defendant, of Fassaugh Avenue, Dublin, appeared before Judge Patricia McNamara at Dublin District Court yesterday on charges of assault causing harm to Mr Saunders and producing a golf club as a weapon during the alleged attack.

His left arm was in a sling when he was brought into court.

He remained seated and silent during the hearing in which Detective Sergeant Tom Lynch told the judge that Mr Brannigan said he had "nothing to say" when the two charges were put to him.

The DPP was contemplating "more serious charges" in the case, Judge McNamara heard, and Det Sgt Lynch objected to bail, citing fears the defendant would interfere with "two vital witnesses".


He said Mr Saunders "died as a result of injuries from this assault". The detective said it was alleged that when he was detained, Mr Brannigan admitted assaulting the victim.

Det Sgt Lynch also said the altercation was recorded on CCTV and two local shop workers identified the accused.

The detective added that it would be alleged the accused approached them "in the minutes following the assault and asked them to delete the CCTV from the system".

Det Sgt Lynch agreed with defence solicitor Tony Collier that the assault admissions his client made "were in the context of self-defence".

He also agreed that the CCTV evidence had been secured and is currently in garda custody but he feared the accused would approach the witnesses.

Mr Collier said that Mr Brannigan's parents were willing to post €7,000 bail and his client was welcome to reside with them at their home in Finglas.

He also said Mr Brannigan would obey bail terms including a curfew, signing on at a garda station, and would stay away from certain places and people.

Mr Collier also said his client denies that he had asked the witnesses to delete CCTV evidence.

Judge McNamara refused to grant bail and remanded the accused in custody.

He will face his next hearing via video-link on March 26 at Cloverhill District Court.

The accused, who has not yet indicated how he will plead, will now have to go the High Court to apply for bail.

He was granted legal aid and the judge made a direction that he must get medical attention during his remand in prison.

Mr Saunders, who was also from Fassaugh Avenue, was the youngest of five children and had celebrated his 21st birthday last month. Some of his relatives attended the hearing yesterday.

Irish Independent

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