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Man interrupts witness's live video link to garda murder trial

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Aaron Brady denies he murdered Garda Adrian Donohoe

Aaron Brady denies he murdered Garda Adrian Donohoe

Aaron Brady denies he murdered Garda Adrian Donohoe

A witness in the trial of a man accused of murdering a garda was interrupted giving evidence via video link from her New York home after an unidentified man entered the room and was heard saying "put a stop to it" and "no more testimony" before the live feed dropped off.

Molly Staunton yesterday continued giving evidence from the US in the trial of Aaron Brady (29), who denies the capital murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe in Co Louth in 2013.

The witness was being re-examined by prosecution counsel Brendan Grehan SC about an evening in the summer of 2016 at Mr Brady's apartment in the Bronx.

Mr Grehan asked Ms Staunton what the accused said when he came out of his bedroom that evening.

The witness replied "he was in distress".

While giving her evidence, Ms Staunton then addressed another person who was in the room she was giving her testimony from, saying "can you leave?"

An unseen male was then heard saying: "Put a stop to it. You can stop it right now, no more testimony," before the camera was pointed towards the floor and the live feed cut off.

The jury was then asked to rise, before returning a short time later.

Ms Staunton then appeared again via video link, saying that her apartment was now empty and that she was happy to proceed.

Mr Grehan asked the witness what she heard the accused say on that evening in June or July 2016 in the living room of his apartment, which Mr Brady shared with Ms Staunton's then boyfriend Tommy McGeary.

She said that she heard Aaron Brady say that he wanted to be a good father to his son, that there were "cops looking for him and possibly raiding the apartment", and that he was "upset".

Ms Staunton then said: "As far as him admitting to killing a cop, I can't say he admitted to it, I thought I heard him saying something along those lines. I know in the statement I said he did but I can't remember... I don't think he outwardly admitted to that."

An excerpt of a video recording of Ms Staunton giving her statement to two garda detectives in a New York police station on August 29, 2017, was then shown to the jury.

In the clip Ms Staunton told Det Sgt Paul Gill: "Well, he definitely said himself that he murdered a cop or a detective."

After the footage was played, the witness told Mr Grehan: "Now that I have re-seen the video I stand by my statement of what I said. He did say he killed a cop."

Under cross-examination from defence counsel Fiona Murphy SC, the witness was asked who it was that had earlier come into her apartment, to which she said "that was my friend that I'm currently staying with". Asked if this individual had closed the computer, Ms Staunton said: "No, I closed the computer" and that she "just wanted privacy" and "didn't want them in the same room".

Mr Justice Michael White told the jury of six men and seven women that the trial will continue on Tuesday afternoon.

Aaron Brady has pleaded not guilty to the capital murder of Adrian Donohoe, 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 defendant, 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.

Irish Independent