Friday 6 December 2019

Defence lawyers in murder trial seek communication between chief witness and solicitor

Peter Butterly
Peter Butterly

By Natasha Reid

All sides in the trial of three men accused of murdering a dissident republican spent this morning debating the disclosure of communications between the chief prosecution witness and his solicitor.

It’s the 35th day of the Special Criminal Court trial of the men charged with murdering Peter Butterly last year.

The court yesterday heard that David Cullen had agreed to disclose to the defence documents relating to his communications with his solicitor since June 5th, 2014. The State has said that this was not a general waiver to his claim to legal professional privilege over their communications.

However, defence lawyers have sought disclosure of all communications between Cullen and his solicitor and the court is hearing legal submissions on the issue.

Cullen has given evidence in chief in which he implicated the three accused men in the murder of Mr Butterly in the car park of a Meath pub.

The 30-year-old was then cross examined by the defence and this is when he raised the issue of privilege in relation to communications with his solicitor.

He refused to answer questions relating to the issue last week and told the court that he wanted to speak to his solicitor before answering any more questions from the defence. The court at first refused, but then acceded to his request.

Peter Butterly was shot dead in the car park of the Huntsman Inn, Gormanston, Co Meath on March 6 2013.

Dean Evans (24), of Grange Park Rise, Raheny, Edward McGrath (33) of Land Dale Lawns, Springfield Tallaght and Sharif Kelly (44), of Pinewood Green Road, Balbriggan have pleaded not guilty to murdering the 35-year-old father of two.

Mr Evans and Mr McGrath have also pleaded not guilty to firearm offences on the same occasion.

Cullen, who is currently serving a three-and-half-year prison sentence, was allegedly ‘part of the murder plan himself’ but turned State's witness earlier this year. The trial continues.

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