A MAN accused of plotting to steal from a cash-in-transit van is alleged to have been offered garda protection in an "off camera" interview with gardai.
It was suggested to Garda Ian Gillen that he made the offer after Joseph Warren told him he was not a "rat" and he "knows what happens to rats".
Gda Gillen told Ciaran O'Loughlin, defending, that while he was unwrapping tapes before he was about to start his second interview with Warren, he asked him "Is it going to be more 'no comments' today?"
Gda Gillen said Warren (30) then blurted out: "I am not a rat. I know what happens to rats."
He then said he told Warren that if he was afraid, the gardai could offer him protection. He said Warren replied: "You can't protect my whole family".
Gda Gillen told the court that he mentioned to Warren that there is a witness protection programme, but that Warren never once said in a taped interview that he was afraid or feared for his safety.
Warren, of Belclare Crescent, Ballymun, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to conspiring to steal cash from Chubb Ireland at Tesco supermarket on the Shackleton Road in Celbridge on November 2, 2007.
Gda Gillen told the jury that when the accused was asked about the "rat" comments during a taped interview he replied: "I simply said at least I'd see 40 and not once did I say or admit that they threatened me or my family."
"I was trying to see if there was a threat there and he never once said there was a threat," said Gda Gillen.
Gda Gillen admitted that he did not know if Warren was in fear or not.
"He admitted he was in fear of reprisals for helping gardai if he was a rat," added Gda Gillen.
Gda Gillen told defence counsel he had no recollection of saying to Warren "there are ways around that" when referring to the protection of the accused and his family.
"I don't know very much about the witness protection programme," Gda Gillen said.
He told the court he was exploring the possibility that Warren was in fear because he was duty bound to do so and added that he "properly brought the conversation on to camera".
Gda Gillen said he gave Warren "several opportunities" to say he was in fear on camera and agreed that he had a "different attitude" when this was discussed off camera.
He accepted a suggestion from Mr O'Loughlin that "anything that is said on camera is traceable" and that it is "not uncommon for people to say something to the gardai but not want to have it on camera".
Gda Gillen did not accept that this conversation with Warren took place in the exercise yard and insisted that it took place between two interviews just as he was about to put the tape in the machine.
He denied that he had said to Warren during the "off camera interview" that "the only person who would get any kind of deal would be the first to say it in interview".
"That would be an inducement. I would not do that," Gda Gillen said.
Gda Gillen agreed with Sean Guerin, prosecuting, that Warren never gave the impression that he had been told not to co-operate.
"He was being polite, civil and said to me 'It is nothing personal, I am not a rat' and that is as far as it went," Gda Gillen told the jury.
The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan.