Saturday 19 October 2019

Murder accomplice receives €45,000 a year from State

Natasha Reid

A murder accomplice with immunity from prosecution receives €45,000 a year from the State for himself and his family while living under witness protection.

A detective superintendent confirmed the payments while being cross-examined by the defence in a murder trial at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin.

The accused, Christopher Zambra (38), of Galtymore Road in Drimnagh, has pleaded not guilty to murdering 33-year-old John Carroll.

The Charlemont Street native was shot dead on February 18, 2009, as he socialised in Grumpy Jacks pub in The Coombe.

Accomplice turned State witness Joseph O'Brien has testified that Mr Zambra ordered the murder.

O'Brien (28) said that the accused told him to source the motorbike used in the killing and to destroy it afterwards.

The trial has heard that O'Brien was never charged in connection with the murder despite admitting his involvement.

Now in the Witness Security Programme and living in another jurisdiction, he testified in the knowledge that nothing he said could be used against him.

Detective superintendent Liam King yesterday confirmed that the State pays O'Brien, his partner and two children about €45,000 in cash and allowances annually as part of the WSP.

Det Super King, who is responsible for the programme, agreed with Michael O'Higgins defending, that a person would need to earn €65,000 per year gross in order to end up with €45,000.

He had already explained that the family received the equivalent of a similar family on social welfare, along with a contribution towards utilities, €315 per week in rent allowance and at least €40 per week for healthcare.

He also confirmed that the DPP had not been informed that a file on O'Brien existed in the possession of the 'Host Force' outside the jurisdiction.

He agreed that this foreign force was precluded from voluntarily disclosing its records for security reasons.

He agreed that steps could have been taken to have this information released on a non-voluntary basis.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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