Saturday 17 March 2018

Murder probe had been exhausted

Paul Deering reports from the Criminal Courts of Justice

A Garda admitted that up until the confession of Keith Brady taken at Castlerea Prison in December 2015, the investigation into the murder of Martin Kivlehan had been 'exhausted.'

"Essentially from a Garda investigation point of view we had exhausted our lines of enquiry," Sergeant Martin McHale told the jury on day eight of the murder trial of Brady at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin.

Sgt McHale added: "There was no more reason to speak to him (Keith Brady). This was a call out of the blue."

The sergeant was referring to the request from Brady that he come and speak with him in Castlerea Prison.

Sgt McHale was not called by the prosecution to give evidence but was tendered to the defence who asked him to give testimony.

In response to Mr Brendan Grehan SC (defending) Sgt McHale agreed that he had been present for all interviews conducted with Brady which had numbered nine in total.

The witness agreed with a suggestion from Mr Grehan that in the first interviews with the accused he had been coming down from the effects of heroin addiction.

Sgt McHale also agreed that it would be fair to say that during the first three interviews the accused could be described as being belligerent, difficult and was denying all involvement in the killing of Martin Kivlehan.

The witness further agreed that a 'sea change' had taken place during the fourth interview given in Sligo Garda Station on August 5th which had come after his sister Janice had visited him in his cell. A different tone was struck from the very beginning of this interview, said Mr Grehan.

Sgt McHale further accepted that neither he nor his colleagues knew it would be a different kind of interview with the accused.

The witness agreed that at that fourth interview Brady admitted to being in Mr Kivlehan's apartment, that something happened and that he had reacted and this had led to the stabbing.

Mr Grehan put it to the witness that there was very much an element of vagueness about the account in relation to the stabbing and the witness agreed with this.

By November, Brady was interviewed again, this time being brought to Ballymote Garda Station where his solicitor sat in, the law having changed in the meantime to allow this, said Mr Grehan.

Brady was serving a sentence on other matters in Castlerea at the time. Sgt McHale agreed that the accused, in this interview, rowed back from the position he had taken during his fourth interview the previous August. He admitted that he and his sister had been in the apartment but was claiming he had no knowledge of how Mr Kivlehan had died.

It was put to him that he had confessed in his fourth interview and he was refusing to comment, agreed Sgt. McHale.

Before being brought back to Castlerea Prison, Sgt McHale said he wrote his name down on a piece of paper along with his number and gave this to the accused.

Sgt McHale told Brady that he could contact him if he wanted to get anything off his chest. A month later, Sgt McHale got a call from a prison officer stating that Brady wished to talk to him.

The witness said he contacted his superior and both he and Inspector Tom Colsh subsequently travelled to Castlerea Prison to see what the accused wanted.

When they met Brady he said to them that it was about Matt, that he wanted to get "the whole thing off my chest." He stated that his head was wrecked, that he could not sleep. They let Brady say what he wanted to say telling him to take his time. It wasn't a question and answer interview and they only intervened to clarify something. "He dictated and we took notes," he said.

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