Saturday 26 May 2018

Post worker denies tampering with colleague's urine sample

Brian McDonald

A POST office manager has denied intending to pervert the course of justice by tampering with the urine sample of a friend and work colleague who was arrested on suspicion of drink driving.

Kevin Rogers (49) of Mote Park, Roscommon, has pleaded not guilty to the single charge at his trial in Roscommon Circuit Criminal Court.

The court heard a sealed container containing a urine sample was posted by a garda through registered post from Athleague Post Office to the Medical Bureau of Road Safety at UCD in Belfield, Dublin 4, two days after the road collision.

Officials at the bureau will give evidence that when the package arrived in Dublin it was found to contain no, or virtually no, urine.

The package appeared to have been subjected to a source of heat, prosecution barrister Phillip Rahn said.

The court heard the canteen on the upper floor of Roscommon Post Office contained a microwave.

Mr Rahn said the events arose from a road accident on Convent Road in Roscommon on March 3 last year.

Mrs Philomena Bernie was knocked down by a car driven by Michael Lyons of Knockcroghery.

An investigating garda thought that Michael Lyons had taken alcohol and arrested him for the purpose of taking a sample.

Mr Lyons opted for a sample of his urine to be taken.

Mr Rahn said that Mr Lyons worked for An Post and he was later described by the accused to gardai as "a colleague and close friend".

Mr Rogers also told gardai in an interview that Mr Lyons had told him on March 3 that he had been arrested for drink driving.

DANGEROUS

In order for the package to get to Dublin, it had to travel via the post office in Roscommon and Mr Rogers was the acting manager there that day.

As the case opened before Judge Tony Hunt, Garda Philip Weafer said he was later informed that the drink-driving prosecution would not be going ahead as there had been interference with the sample.

He could only go ahead with a prosecution for dangerous driving against Mr Lyons and the accused man had pleaded guilty to that charge.

Ann O'Reilly of An Post investigated after gardai contacted the company's security services.

Postman Mark Miley said he was carrying the registered post in a tray into the post office on March 5 last year when Kevin Rogers ran to him and told him he had to sign a form.

He said Mr Rogers asked him to leave the registered post outside at the van.

He did as he was told.

Later he went upstairs towards the canteen and met Mr Rogers at the top of the stairs.

He said that Mr Rogers zipped down his (Mr Miley's) jacket and put a box inside it.

"He said, 'say nothing, show no-one, put back the box and deny all'.

"I went down and left it back in the registered box.

"It was stink, rotten-- disgusting, the smell of it ... and hot", he said.

Asked by Martin Giblin, counsel for Mr Rogers, if he would put a sample of urine into a microwave if Mr Rogers told him to do so, the witness replied: "I didn't know it was microwaved. It was just hot."

Cross-examined by Mr Giblin, Mr Miley said that Mr Rogers was senior to him and he would do whatever he told him.

The hearing is expected to last a number of days.

Irish Independent

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