DNA evidence disputed in murder case

Brian Kavanagh

THE Court of Criminal Appeal has reserved judgment in the case of a Dublin man convicted of murdering a 27-year-old man on the Clontarf Road over five years ago.

Craig White (24), with a last address at O'Devaney Gardens, was sentenced to life imprisonment in July last year having being found guilty by a Central Criminal Court jury of the murder of Noel Roche.

Mr Roche was killed in a drive-by shooting while sitting in the passenger seat of a Ford Mondeo on November 15, 2005. He had been attending a Phil Collins concert at the Point Depot with some friends.

Samples taken from a blue Peugeot 307 car, which was abandoned on Furry Park Road after the shooting, were later found to contain firearms residue.

Two men were also seen running from the car and two gloves were found along Furry Park Road.

Inside the Peugeot, which had been recently stolen, gardai found a Glock semi-automatic pistol sheathed in a brown paper bag. Ballistics experts connected this weapon to shell casings found at the murder scene.

White's fingerprints were found on the brown paper bag, while his DNA was found on the handles of the bag.

The gloves also yielded his DNA. However, forensic experts could not determine whether the DNA was on the inside or outside of the gloves and could not rule out that it could have arrived there as a result of secondary transfer.

Counsel for the applicant, Brendan Grehan, argued that the trial judge had erred in allowing a fingerprint expert to express that he had "no doubt" that the prints found on the brown paper matched those of Craig White.

Mr Grehan also said that the forensic samples taken from White should not have been admissible, as gardai told him in the absence of his solicitor that certain inferences could be drawn should he fail to provide DNA samples.

Mrs Justice Macken said it was likely the court would not return judgment until the end of January.

hnews@herald.ie