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Lawyer advised Garda murder accused not to give statement if he was involved

Aaron Brady

The former solicitor of a Co Armagh man charged with the murder of a police officer in the Republic has told Dublin's Central Criminal Court he advised his client not to give a voluntary statement to gardai if he was involved in the killing.

Danny McNamee was yesterday giving evidence in the trial of Aaron Brady, who denies the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe (41) and the robbery of Lordship Credit Union in Dundalk, Co Louth, on January 25, 2013.

The accused, from New Road, Crossmaglen, waived his right to legal professional privilege over conversations he had with his then solicitor in 2013.

The court heard that Mr McNamee knew the accused's father Tony and he was contacted by him 10 days after the fatal shooting.

He said Tony Brady was concerned that his son was "being connected with the murder of Garda Donohoe on social media".

Mr McNamee said he had a "quite lengthy discussion" with Aaron Brady before attending Dundalk Garda Station to give a witness statement.

He told defence counsel Michael O'Higgins SC that he advised the accused "in very strong terms that if he had anything to do with the incident" he should under no circumstances attend the garda station to give a witness statement.

The solicitor explained that once Aaron Brady attended as a witness he would not have the protection of criminal evidence codes, where a person can seek disclosure when under caution about particular matters.

Brady told his solicitor, who is based in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, he was involved in the process of diesel laundering that night and he had been loading cubes, the court heard.

While giving his voluntary statement he gave an off-the-record account stating he was at a diesel yard on the Concession Road trying to get a forklift started before leaving 10-15 minutes later. He has since accepted that this was a lie and that he was at the yard for around 90 minutes, at the time of the Lordship robbery.

Under cross-examination from prosecution counsel Brendan Grehan SC, Mr McNamee agreed that he did not take any notes while Mr Brady gave his statement and said he was asked to attend as reassurance. He added that in circumstances where someone is giving a witness statement he would not intend to take notes.

The jury was told the solicitor also advised two other men who have given statements, Suspect A and Suspect B, who the prosecution say were involved but cannot be named for legal reasons.

Mr McNamee said his firm represents most people in relation to customs affairs in the area.

Counsel put it to him that the capital murder of a garda was as far as you could get from customs affairs in terms of alleged criminality.

After Mr McNamee finished his evidence, Mr Justice Michael White said Mr McNamee acted with the highest professional standard while executing his duties and the prosecution accepts that.

The trial continues today.

Belfast Telegraph