Monday 18 December 2017

'Great laxity' in how some gardaí dealt with evidence in case of man accused of murdering pigeon enthusiast, court hears

The scene of the shooting, inset, Keith Walker
The scene of the shooting, inset, Keith Walker

Eoin Reynolds

Some gardai involved in a murder investigation acted with "great laxity" in how they dealt with evidence in the case, a defence barrister has told a murder trial jury.

Bernard Condon SC is giving his closing speech to the jury in the trial of Christopher McDonald (34), from the East Wall area of Dublin. Mr McDonald has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 36-year-old Keith Walker at Blanchardstown Pigeon Racing Club on the Shelerin Road, Clonsilla on June 12, 2015.

Mr Condon told the six men and six women of the jury that there was a problem with the evidence they had heard and that there was a "great laxity in the way some of the gardai have dealt with this case."

Counsel pointed to the fact that Detective Sergeant Paul Tallon had written in his statement that he found dark glasses along with the gun alleged to have been used in the killing, but no glasses were actually found. He said Det Sgt Tallon said during cross examination that he had no explanation for this. Mr Condon asked the jury would they accept that from a partner and suggested that what Det Sgt Tallon was saying was: "no explanation is better than a bad explanation". He added: "It is bordering on telling you to go and get stuffed."

He also pointed to an inconsistency in evidence given by a garda who had retrieved CCTV footage. The garda initially said the footage did not have a time stamp but later said that was a mistake. There were further questions over the taking of samples from Mr McDonald, with a doctor in the case saying that he took a sample from Mr McDonald's mouth. That conflicted with the evidence of the the garda who was present when the sample was taken.

Speaking for the prosecution, Denis Vaughan Buckley SC told the jurors that the evidence they had heard should convince them that Mr McDonald is guilty and he asked them to use their common sense.

Mr Condon's closing speech to the jury continues in front of Justice Patrick McCarthy this afternoon.

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