The man accused of the murder of detective garda Adrian Donohoe was in a car stopped by gardai close to the scene less than six hours after the killing, a court has heard.
aron Brady (28) is on trial charged with the murder of Adrian Donohoe, 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.
He is also charged with the of the robbery of approximately €7,000 in cash and assorted cheques from Mr Pat Bellew at the same location on the same date.
Mr Brady, of New Road in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, has pleaded not guilty to both charges.
This morning the Central Criminal Court heard that the accused was in a car that was pulled over by gardai in the early hours of the following morning.
Gda Finbar Gurhy agreed with defence counsel Michael O’Higgins SC that if, as the prosecution contend Aaron Brady and the driver were “up to their necks in this murder”, being pulled over by gardai would have been an “uncomfortable moment”.
The driver cannot be identified by order of the court.
Gda Gurhy gave evidence that he arrived at Lordship credit union shortly after the shooting at around 9.30pm and was later tasked with escorting pathologist Dr Khalid Jaber to Dundalk Garda Station
At 3.05am the following morning he was driving along the Carlingford Road, towards the Ballymacsanlon roundabout, when he observed a car driving towards them.
The jury was told that road closures were put in place near the roundabout to divert traffic, and that local access was allowed at the discretion of the officer at the checkpoint.
The witness said the vehicle, a dark or grey BMW 5 series, was stopped and gardai pulled up alongside it to inquire “what he was doing on that area” of the road.
He agreed with prosecution counsel Brendan Grehan SC that he recognised the driver of the vehicle. Gda Gurhy said this individual lived in the area and told him he was heading home.
He told the court he was satisfied the driver had spoken to gardai at the road block near Ballymacscanlon roundabout.
The jury was told Gda Gurhy noticed a person in the passenger seat of the vehicle, but did not have any interaction or view of them.
Defence counsel Michael O’Higgins SC, in cross examination, said it is accepted that the person in the passenger seat at the time was Aaron Brady.
The witness agreed with Mr O’Higgins that for a person being signalled to pull over by gardai is a ‘heart stopping-moment’, even at the lower end of the spectrum.
Mr O’Higgins said that for Aaron Brady and the driver of the car, who as the prosecution contend were “up to their neck in this murder”, being stopped by gardai must have been an “uncomfortable moment.”
Gda Gurhy agreed with this saying “I imagine so”, and that after the exchange both the BMW and the Garda vehicle continued on their travels.
Gda David Byrne, of Dundalk Garda Station, also gave evidence that he set up a diversion along the Carlingford Road between Lordship credit union and the Ballymacscanlon roundabout the night of the murder of Det Gda Adrian Donohoe.
He agreed with Mr Grehan that this checkpoint was set up around one mile from the scene of the fatal shooting.
The witness said that one vehicle approached and indicated he wanted to go along a roadway towards his home.
Gda Byrne agreed with Mr Grehan that this individual identified himself by his surname and then as the son of a man known to Gda Byrne.
He recalled this vehicle as being a BMW, possibly a 5 series, with a UK registration plate.
Gda Byrne said he was at the cordon until 7.30am and that in that time the vehicle passed up to three times.
Earlier the court heard evidence that on August 13, 2013, a 5 series BMW was seized as part of the investigation.
Det Sgt Kieran Reidy said that he travelled to Belmullet, Co Mayo, with a colleague and took possession of the vehicle
The trial continues this afternoon before Justice Michael White and the jury of eight men and seven women.