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Solicitor sought fees up front for defence of garda's killers

A SOLICITOR representing a husband and wife sentenced to death for murdering a garda, threatened to hold up the trial unless the State agreed his fees, writes Clodagh Sheehy.

Donal Carroll, of Lower Dorset Street in Dublin, was representing Noel and Marie Murray, who were subsequently convicted of shooting Garda Michael Reynolds dead as he pursued them after an armed robbery.

The Murrays' trial was due to begin on April 26, 1976, but a few weeks before it began, Mr Carroll said he would seek an adjournment in court on April 2 "as the matter of fees and costs have not been settled".

The memo from the Chief State Solicitor to the Department of Finance Secretary asked that the matter of legal fees be treated "as one of urgency" in view of Mr Carroll's indications.

The Department then sanctioned fees of "£120 for senior counsel on the brief with refreshers of £75 a day" and junior counsel fees of two thirds of those fixed for seniors.

"As to your own costs and witnesses expenses, the Minister will sanction payment within the limits of the Free Legal Aid Scheme," Mr Carroll was told by the Department.

Noel and Marie Murray were sentenced to receive the death penalty after the conclusion of their trial, but this was later commuted by the President to a sentence of life imprisonment, and the pair were released after serving 15 years.

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