Trial begins of man accused of double murder of men who were 'assassinated' in stolen car
The jury in a double murder trial will be asked to use circumstantial evidence to decide if the accused man murdered two Dublin criminals, who were ‘assassinated’ in a car they’d stolen.
The prosecutor was giving his opening speech to the Central Criminal Court on Wednesday in the trial of a 34-year-old Dublin man, charged with committing the Co Louth murders more than five years ago.
Jason O’Driscoll, with an address at Richmond Avenue, Fairview, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Anthony Burnett and Joseph Redmond, who were found shot dead in Co Louth on March 7th, 2012.
Alexander Owens SC, prosecuting, told the jury that this was a case involving circumstantial evidence.
He suggested that the jurors conclude that Mr O’Driscoll had participated in the murders ‘because there’s only one reasonable inference to be drawn from the proved circumstances’.
“If you’re satisfied that there’s no other reasonable explanation, but that he’s guilty, then the verdict is guilty,” he said.
He said that it was not necessary to establish the precise role that the accused had played or whether he had pulled the trigger.
“Anyone, who attends the scene of a murder with a view to participating, who’s there as an active participant, is as guilty as murder as the person who pulls the trigger,” he said.
He said there wouldn’t be evidence in relation to ‘who precisely pulled the trigger’ but that the prosecution aimed to satisfy the jury that Mr O'Driscoll was there and was a participant.
“Was the accused part of that murdering operation? They are the issues that you will be looking at,” he said.
The jury had already heard that the accused was originally from Fairview and had lived in Newry for a while. Both of the deceased were from Ballybough in the north inner city.
Mr Owens said that the deceased were ‘full-time criminals’ involved in car theft.
He said that they stole a Volkswagen Golf from a home in Sandymount in the early hours of March 7 and approached a number of potential buyers that day.
It’s the prosecution case that they drove the car north that night with a view to selling it to the accused, and that around 10.45pm, they pulled into a layby at Ravensdale Park, a heavily wooded area near the border.
“The two men were shot in the head and (that) the car was immediately set on fire,” said Mr Owens of the State’s case.
“The prosecution case in relation to Mr O’Driscoll is, by inference, Mr O’Driscoll was one of the men who attended at this assassination,” he said.
“You’ve to decide whether or not he’s guilty of these offences,” he explained. “I would suggest that the only reasonable conclusion is that Jason O’Driscoll is guilty.”
The jury of eight men and four women was then shown scene photographs and maps of the areas involved.
The trial continues on Friday before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy, and is expected to last three to four weeks.