Monday 16 September 2019

Freddie Thompson trial: Special Criminal Court rejects application for not guilty verdict

Freddie Thompson and (inset) David Douglas
Freddie Thompson and (inset) David Douglas

Alison O'Riordan

Judges at the Special Criminal Court trial of Frederick ‘Freddie’ Thompson, who is accused of the murder of David Douglas, have rejected an application by the defence to direct a verdict of not guilty.

The 37-year-old, with an address at Loreto Road, Maryland in Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of David Douglas on July 1, 2016 on Bridgefoot Street in the south inner city.

The 10-day trial at the three-judge, non-jury court heard that the 55-year-old was shot six times shortly after 4pm, as he took a meal break at the counter in his partner’s shop, Shoestown.

A semi-automatic pistol with its serial number removed was found next to his head.

The prosecution is not claiming Mr Thompson carried out the actual shooting.

However, the court has heard that his DNA was found in two alleged ‘spotter’ cars used in the shooting, and detectives also identified him in CCTV footage as the driver of one of the cars.

The prosecution case is that four vehicles and their occupants were operating in concert on the day and the court has seen CCTV footage of their movements.

These included the “ultimate murder vehicle”, the Mercedes that transported the shooter to and from the scene and the other three vehicles which included a Ford Fiesta, Mitsubishi Mirage and a Suzuki Swift.

Michael O’Higgins SC, for the accused man, submitted to the court yesterday that there was very few pieces of evidence in the

case and there was "no forensic connection" between his client and two of the cars which were "unquestionably involved in the crime", the Suzuki Swift and Mercedes.

He said that CCTV footage which the prosecution allege show Mr Thompson in the car is “a blur” and “fundamentally flawed”.

There is a multiplicity of drivers driving at different times and there can be no safe assumption, he said.

Counsel also called into question the manner in which the investigating Gardaí viewed the CCTV footage to arrive at their conclusion that Mr Thompson was in the car. Mr O’Higgins said this case stands or falls on the identification evidence, which he said was “contaminated”.

In reply, prosecution counsel Sean Gillane SC said he was resisting the application and asked the court not to treat the events in isolation but to look at the combined evidence.

“This is a case where to treat some of these matters as coincidence would be an affront to common sense,” he said.

Today, Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge Flann Brennan, said the court was rejecting the application.

Mr Justice Hunt said the court had already ruled that the CCTV evidence met “the minimum cogency standard of admissibility” and it saw no reason to revisit the earlier conclusion at this juncture.

Lawyers for the prosecution and defence are expected to make closing speeches later this morning.

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