Dundon murder trial adjourned after hospitalisation of key witness

Limerick man accused of ordering shooting of rugby player Shane Geoghegan

John Dunon: accused of murder of rugby player Shane Geoghegan

John Dunon: accused of murder of rugby player Shane Geoghegan

Mon, Jul 8, 2013, 14:19

The trial of Limerick man John Dundon for the murder of rugby player Shane Geoghegan has been adjourned for at least two weeks because of the hospitalisation of a key prosecution witness.

Counsel for the State, Tom O’Connell SC, told the Special Criminal Court that witness April Collins had a medical problem, was facing serious medical complications and was currently hospitalised and likely to remain so for the next two to three weeks.

He said that he did not have a medical report for the court, but investigating officer Detective Inspector Brian Sugrue had consulted with Ms Collins.

For the sake of Ms Collins’ privacy and for security reasons, Mr O’Connell said he did not want to go into the matter further.

Mr O’Connell said the prosecution did not want to start the trial without an essential witness and believed that the court had the option to either hear the evidence from hospital via video link or adjourn the trial until October with a view to finishing the case early in the next court term.

Defence counsel Brendan Nix SC said that he was aware the Ms Collins had a natural medical complication but he would be “most unhappy” to cross-examine the witness via video link as she was an experienced witness.

He said that his client had no objection to an adjournment application.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said the court would make no adjudication on the suggestion of video link evidence but it was clear that the case could not proceed in truncated form.

He said the court would put the matter back for mention on July 22nd to see if Ms Collins was then in a position to give evidence, in which case the trial could resume the following day.

Mr Justice Kearns said the court had previously indicated its willingness to sit in August during the court recess in order to see the trial completed, while it was noted that there were other cases listed for trial in the Special Criminal Court in October and the Supreme Court had indicated that John Dundon’s trial should proceed.

John Dundon (30), with a last address at Hyde Road, Limerick, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 28-year-old Shane Geoghegan at Clonmore, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, Limerick, on November 9th, 2008.

At the opening of the prosecution case last Thursday, the non-jury court heard it was the State’s case that Garryowen rugby player Shane Geoghegan was the unintended victim of a shooting that was meant for another man and was ordered by John Dundon.

Mr O’Connell told the court that the actual target was a man named John McNamara, who had the nickname “Pitchfork” and lived close by the deceased in the Limerick suburb of Clonmore.

He said the court would hear from key prosecution witness April Collins, who would give evidence that John Dundon ordered another man, Barry Doyle, to kill John McNamara.