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DPP made call on murder case says ex-detective

A RETIRED detective superintendent said that he had no "ulterior motive" in taking a statement from a suspect off camera.

PJ Browne also denied making it difficult for the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute a suspect in the investigation into the gun killing of John 'Champagne' Carroll.

The ex-detective was was giving evidence at the Central Criminal Court in the trial of four men charged with murdering a father-of-three in a Dublin pub two years ago.

John Carroll (33) was shot dead while drinking in Grumpy Jack's Pub in the Coombe just after 9.30pm on February 18, 2009. Bernard Hempenstall (28) from Park Terrace, The Coombe; Peter Kenny (28) of McCarthy's Terrace, Rialto; Damien Johnston (27) of Cashel Avenue, Crumlin; and Christopher Zambra (35) of Galtymore Road, Drimnagh have all pleaded not guilty to his murder.

A fifth suspect, Joseph O'Brien, was granted immunity and became the chief prosecution witness in the trial.

The court had already heard that Mr Browne and Detective Sergeant Adrian Whitelaw did not follow regulations and interviewed Mr O'Brien off-camera following his arrest. Asked by a defence counsel why this was the case the former detective superintendent said: "I had no ulterior motive. I just took the statements in that fashion. I know it was wrong," he said. "Hindsight is one of the greatest things we have."

In further evidence Mr Browne told the court: "I didn't comply with everything I should have complied with. That's not a reflection on Det Sgt Whitelaw. That was my decision and I have to take responsibility for that."

Padraig Dwyer, defending Mr Zambra, asked him about the DPP's decision not to charge Mr O'Brien. "That had nothing to do with me. I had long retired," said Mr Browne.

"Well it might have had a lot to do with you," suggested Mr Dwyer. "You would have known that the likelihood of getting an unrecorded confession in the door of a court was practically nil." The trial continues.