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Solicitor advised Aaron Brady not to give statement if he was involved in Adrian Donohoe murder, court told

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Aaron Brady. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson

Aaron Brady. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson

Aaron Brady. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson

Aaron Brady's former solicitor has told the Central Criminal Court he advised his client not to give a voluntary statement to gardaí if he was involved in the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe.

Danny McNamee was this morning giving evidence in the trial of Mr Brady who denies capital murder and robbery at Lordship Credit Union on January 25, 2013.

The accused has waived his right to legal professional privilege over conversations he had with his then-solicitor in 2013.

The court heard that Danny McNamee knew the accused's father Tony Brady and that he was contacted by him 10 days after the fatal shooting.

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Det Gda Adrian Donohoe

Det Gda Adrian Donohoe

Det Gda Adrian Donohoe

He said Tony Brady was concerned that his son was "being connected with the murder of Garda Donohoe on social media".

Mr McNamee said he had a "quite lengthy discussion" with Aaron Brady before attending Dundalk Garda Station to give a witness statement.

He told the defence counsel Michael O'Higgins SC that he advised the accused "in very strong terms that if he had anything to do with the incident" he should under no circumstances attend the garda station to give a witness statement.

The solicitor explained that once Aaron Brady attended as a witness he wouldn't have the protection of criminal evidence codes, where a person can seek disclosure when under caution about particular matters.

Mr Brady told his solicitor that he was involved in the process of diesel laundering that night and that he had been loading cubes, the court heard.

Danny McNamee said that there was little very discussion about this and that the emphasis on their conversation was, that if Aaron Brady had anything to do with the murder and robbery, he should not attend Dundalk Garda Station. Aaron Brady and his solicitor later attended the garda station after 6pm to give a voluntary statement.

A memo from Det Gda Jim McGovern was read out to the court which stated that as Mr Brady accounted for his movements at 8pm that night his solicitor asked for a private consultation with his client.

Danny McNamee said he did this because the version being given by Mr Brady did not accord with what he had told him in relation to being at the yard, and wanted to see if his client was in agreement to discussing this off-the-record with gardaí.

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He said he also wanted to ascertain whether gardaí "would take any action" against Mr Brady's involvement in diesel laundering activity and "whether it was safe or not to put in his statement".

The gardaí told him they had no interest in prosecuting his client for criminal offences related to fuel laundering, he told the court.

In his off-the-record account Mr Brady said he was at a diesel yard on the Concession Road trying to get a forklift started before leaving 10-15 minutes later. The jury has been told a notice of alibi supplied last December said he was at the yard for around 90 minutes, at the time of the Lordship robbery.

Under cross-examination from prosecution counsel Brendan Grehan SC, Mr McNamee agreed that he did not take any notes while Mr Brady gave his statement and said he was asked to attend as reassurance. He added that in circumstances where someone is giving a witness statement he would not intend to take notes.

He said that Mr Brady told him he was loading diesel cubes, but that in his statement Aaron Brady "seems to be making preparations as opposed to loading."

Mr McNamee said this did strike him at the time but that he didn't place a huge amount of importance on it.

The jury were told that Mr McNamee also advised two other men who have given statements, Suspect A and Suspect B, who the prosecution say were involved but cannot be named for legal reasons.

The solicitor, who is based in Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh, added that his firm represent most people in relation to customs affairs in the general area,

Counsel put it to him that the capital murder of a garda was as far as you could get from customs affairs in terms of alleged criminality.

The solicitor said his state of knowledge at the time was that it related to a customs affair as his client indicated he was involved in fuel laundering.

The trial continues before the jury of six men and seven women this afternoon.

Aaron Brady has pleaded not guilty to the capital murder of Adrian Donohoe (41), who was then a member of An Garda Síochána acting in the course of his duty, at Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Dundalk, Co. Louth, on January 25, 2013.

The accused, of New Road in Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh, also denies robbery of approximately €7,000 in cash and assorted cheques from Pat Bellew at the same location on the same date.


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