A RETIRED garda sergeant said he cannot remember seeing a wound to the face or head of Mark Nash after arrest in 1997.
Sergeant Kevin Duffy was giving evidence in the trial of Mark Nash, who has pleaded not guilty to the murders of Sylvia Shields (60) and Mary Callanan (61).
Mr Nash (42), who has last addresses at Prussia Street and Clonliffe Road in Dublin, is on trial at the Central Criminal Court for the murders between March 6 and March 7, 1997.
Mr Duffy was on duty at Mill Street Garda Station in Galway on the afternoon of August 16 1997, when Nash was arrested on the Tuam Road in Galway for the serious assault of a Sarah Jane Doyle in Roscommon.
Mr Duffy cannot remember seeing a wound on the face of Mark Nash, a laceration to his head or hearing of an inquiry at the time by Assistant Commissioner Jim McHugh, the court heard.
Under cross examination from Mr Hugh Hartnett, SC for the accused, Mr Duffy told the court about his role on the day.
"You were there not as an investigator, but as a protector of the rights of the detained person?" asked Mr Hartnett.
"Yes I was there to protect his rights," replied Mr Duffy.
"In particular you were obliged to note any injuries he might have," said Mr Hartnett.
"If someone has been struck it could have an effect on their thinking," he asked, to which Mr Duffy refused to comment.
Mr Hartnett asked the witness did he note the condition of Mr Nash at the time - including any injuries.
"It's 18 years ago judge, but I didn't notice at the time," replied Mr Duffy.
Mr Hartnett said: "Are you aware a doctor saw blood on his face, so how did it come about you didn't note blood on his face or a laceration to head?"
Mr Duffy replied: "I didn't notice it."
Mr Duffy told the court he did not hear any talk of a baton being used on the head of Mr Nash on August 16 and it was only later he became aware. He also said that a baton report had been sent at the time.
Mr Hartnett said: "I'm going to suggest to you that you well knew Mark Nash had been batoned on the head and you were suppressing that fact."
"No judge," replied Mr Duffy.
The court heard that at 9.15pm that evening, a doctor told Mr Duffy to take Mr Nash to hospital but it took gardai two and half hours to take him to University Hospital, Galway.
The trial continues.