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Accused 'was moving diesel waste' at time of garda's death, trial told

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Aaron Brady has pleaded not guilty

Aaron Brady has pleaded not guilty

Aaron Brady has pleaded not guilty

A man on trial for the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe said he was moving laundered diesel waste at the time of the fatal shooting, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

The formal alibi of Aaron Brady (29), who denies capital murder, was read out yesterday and the court heard that it was provided to the prosecution last December.

The jury was also told that Mr Brady did not want this account included in an initial voluntary statement he made 11 days after the fatal shooting because he was fearful of incriminating himself in relation to diesel laundering.

The accused has pleaded not guilty to the capital murder of Adrian Donohoe (41), who was then a member of An Garda Siochana acting in the course of his duty, at Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Co Louth, on January 25, 2013. The fatal shooting happened shortly before 9.30pm.

Mr Brady, of New Road in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, also denies the robbery of about €7,000 in cash and assorted cheques from Pat Bellew at the same location and on the same date.

Under cross-examination from Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, Garda Inspector Mark Phillips read out Aaron Brady's notice of alibi.

In his formal alibi, the accused said that at the time of the alleged murder of Det Gda Adrian Donohoe he was at a yard on Concession Road, Crossmaglen.

Mr Brady said that on February 5 and 6, 2013, he presented at Dundalk Garda Station to make a voluntary statement and was asked by two gardai to account for his movements on the evening of the alleged murder.

During the course of this Mr Brady said his solicitor asked the two gardai, Insp Phillips and Det Gda Jim McGovern, if he could consult with him in private. His legal representative then indicated that Mr Brady was reluctant to account for his movements on the record out of fear of being prosecuted.

In the notice of alibi the accused said that he initially informed gardai that he attended a yard on Concession Road and attempted to use a forklift, but that it did not start and left between 10 and 15 minutes later.

"This was not correct," he said, adding that he went to the yard at around 8pm that evening.

Mr Brady said he arrived there with the "sole intention" of laundering large volumes of diesel waste cubes on to the back of a curtain side lorry already on site with the aid of a forklift.

In his alibi, he said he had made contact with two men known to him by telephone who instructed him to move as many diesel cubes onto the lorry as possible.

The accused said that the forklift would not start at first, but that he did eventually manage to start it and spent between 90 minutes and two hours loading diesel cubes onto the truck.

This was due to the rough terrain, poor lighting and the forklift cutting out occasionally, he said, adding that he then left and went to a separate address.

Suspicious

Under cross-examination from Mr O'Higgins, Insp Phillips said that there were profits to be made from diesel smuggling along the Border.

The witness agreed with Mr O'Higgins that Crossmaglen used to be regarded as a republican stronghold, and that some people in the Border locality would be suspicious of the authorities.

He also agreed with counsel that a person could be seen in a bad light for talking to gardai about diesel laundering.

Asked if this could compromise someone's personal safety, Insp Phillips said that there could be "an element" of that.

Mr O'Higgins will continue his cross-examination of Insp Phillips before Mr Justice Michael White this morning.


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