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US agent denies making promises to key witness in Adrian Donohoe murder trial


Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe

Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe

Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe

A Homeland Security agent has told the Adrian Donohoe murder trial that she did not make any promises to a key witness in the case whose US visa had expired, the court has heard.

Special Agent Mary Ann Wade, of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), has been giving evidence via-video link in the trial of Aaron Brady, who denies the capital murder of detective garda Adrian Donohoe.

The court heard that Special Agent Wade assisted the garda investigation and that some witnesses in the US were arrested.

Asked if she had told prosecution witness Daniel Cahill that he could stay in the USA if he made a statement, the agent replied: "I made no promises to him and I made no statements like that to him."


Aaron Brady denies murder

Aaron Brady denies murder

Aaron Brady denies murder

The agent also refused to answer a number of questions relating to witnesses citing a letter from her employer limiting the evidence she could give in a foreign court.

Aaron Brady (29) 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.

Special Agent Mary Ann Wade agreed with lead prosecution counsel Brendan Grehan SC that she worked with gardai in relation to their investigation into the murder of Det Gda Donohoe.

The court heard she was present on May 18, 2017, when Aaron Brady was arrested in Yonkers, New York, for being in the USA illegally.

She said she seized the accused's iPhone and secured it before later mailing it to Aaron Brady at a location on the North Circular Road in Dublin in September 2017.

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The jury was told that Special Agent Wade had also received a letter of scope from her employer in which limitations were set out as to the evidence Homeland Security agents can give in a foreign court.

This, the court heard, outlined a number of matters agents are not authorised to give evidence on including the immigration status of any witnesses and operational matters that could harm the agency.

The letter of scope also states that agents cannot give evidence on law enforcement techniques, investigative techniques or procedures, as well as confidential information related to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Special Agent Wade agreed with Mr Grehan that these were conditions set out by her employer and not her own choice.

Under cross-examination from defence counsel Michael O'Higgins SC, Special Agent Wade said that they knocked on the door of every person they spoke to as a witness and that "some were arrested, some were not."

Asked what the criteria was for people being arrested, Special Agent Wade said that background checks were carried out beforehand.

The court heard that on July 25, 2019, the agent and a number of other law enforcement personnel called to the home of Daniel Cahill and that he was detained before later giving a statement to gardai in a local precinct.

Mr Cahill previously told the jury that he heard Aaron Brady say on three occasions that he had shot a cop in Ireland. He also previously said that his visa had expired when HSI spoke with him last year.

Special Agent Wade said they were permitted entry into the property by Mr Cahill's wife and that he was found in the attic some time later.

Asked by Mr O'Higgins if they were there on the basis that Daniel Cahill was suspected of overstaying his 90 day visa, Special Agent Wade said: "I was there because the guards wanted to speak with Mr Cahill, that's how I wound up at this house that day. "

She added that she was "not going to speak to the immigration status of any witnesses in this case."

Mr O'Higgins put it to the agent if he was right or wrong in being of the view that the agents were at Mr Cahill's home because he had allegedly overstayed his visa.

Special Agent Wade replied: "I don't think I can make it any more clear, I'm not going to answer regarding anybody's immigration status.

"I'm not answering it, you can keep asking it wasting the juries or the courts time, or you can stop, I'm not going to answer that question no matter how many times you ask me."

Special Agent Wade was asked by counsel if Mr Cahill was told he would be permitted to stay in the US if he gave a statement, replying: "I made no promises to him and I made no statements like that to him". She added that she "did not offer him anything."

She was asked if there were people approached by HSI to speak to gardai, who had overstayed their visas but were not arrested.

Special Agent Wade said that she "can't testify to anybody's immigration status or techniques that have been used."

Mr O'Higgins then asked if discussions took place in briefings prior to speaking to witnesses "along the lines of 'if a person cooperates they will be permitted to stay in the US and if they don't cooperate they're going to be sent home'."

Special Agent Wade said: "Like I said I'm not going to testify about what is said in operational briefings. That would include anything about investigative techniques of interview techniques."

She added: "The only people that need to know what is said in an operational briefing are the people there going out on the briefing."

The agent also said that she had never heard of "testimony status" when it was put to her by the defence counsel and that this would not be a word used by them.

The trial continues before a jury of six men and seven women tomorrow morning.

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