Garda murderer’s dad excluded from Special Criminal Court trial

Detective garda Adrian Donohoe was shot dead at Lordship credit union near Dundalk in Co Louth

Tony Brady, Aaron Brady’s father, pictured during the trial of his son at the Central Criminal Court. Credit:Frank McGrath

The Argus

The father of garda murderer Aaron Brady has been excluded from the Special Criminal Court after he published a “tendentious and offensive” video online in which he accused a garda of perjury and contempt of court.

Tony Brady has attended most of the trial of James Flynn and Brendan Treanor, who are accused of conspiring with Mr Brady’s son Aaron to commit burglaries in 2012 and 2013. They are also accused of participation in the robbery of Lordship Credit Union during which Aaron Brady murdered Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe by shooting him in the head.

Before the trial resumed on Tuesday Brendan Grehan SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), raised concerns about a video published online by Tony Brady in which Mr Brady accused a garda of committing perjury and contempt of court when the garda gave evidence in the trial last week.

Mr Grehan said that Tony Brady had abused his right to be present in court and was using information gained in court to abuse persons giving evidence. He said Mr Brady’s online comments were “adverse to the administration of justice”.

After showing a clip from the video to the court, Mr Grehan asked for Mr Brady to be excluded for the remainder of the trial.

When Mr Justice Tony Hunt asked Tony Brady to give a reason why he should not be excluded, Mr Brady apologised for arriving late to court.

“You are neither late nor early,” Mr Justice Hunt replied. “You are not obliged to be here at all.”

Mr Brady said he was expressing an opinion and believes the observation he made in the video to be correct. Mr Justice Hunt told him that he is not entitled to make comments accusing someone of perjury and contempt of court. “That’s not your decision,” the judge said.

Mr Brady apologised and said that he was not aware that he wasn’t entitled to give an opinion.

Counsel for Mr Flynn and Mr Treanor said they had no objection to the prosecution’s application to exclude Mr Brady.

Ruling to exclude Mr Brady, Mr Justice Hunt said that he wanted to emphasise that there is no prohibition on people having opinions and that in the ordinary run of things the court cannot prevent people attending the trial and forming opinions. He added: “But there are limits to how private opinions can be expressed in public.” He said that people coming to court are “entitled to a fair crack of the whip, be they guards or anyone else.”

He said that Mr Brady is entitled to have opinions but is not entitled to use his ability to attend court to “publish the kind of opinion published here” which, the judge said, went “way beyond” what the garda witness had actually said in his evidence.

Mr Justice Hunt said that Mr Brady had abused his right to be present at the trial with the publication of the “tendentious and offensive” material that the judge said bore no relation to what happened in court.

Mr Justice Hunt noted that the material published by Mr Brady was unconnected to the parties before the court and was irrelevant to what the court must decide in the trial.

He added that he was not making a finding of contempt of court against Tony Brady. The court, he said, is directing itself to the “preservation of the integrity of the participants in the process” by excluding Mr Brady from court for the remainder of the trial. The trial has been sitting for more than 50 days and is expected to end this week.

Lorcan Staines SC, for the DPP, continued the closing speech for the prosecution on Tuesday afternoon.