Garda accused of giving false evidence at Jobstown trial

Defence disputes Gavin Cooke’s account of TD Paul Murphy’s actions during water protest

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy TD  arrives at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday  morning. He is charged along with six others of the false imprisonment of then tánaiste Joan Burton at a water protest in Jobstown in 2014. Photograph: Collins Courts

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy TD arrives at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday morning. He is charged along with six others of the false imprisonment of then tánaiste Joan Burton at a water protest in Jobstown in 2014. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A garda has been accused of lying “in a dishonest and disreputable fashion” about Solidarity TD Paul Murphy’s actions on the day of the water protest.

Seán Guerin SC, defending Mr Murphy, suggested to Garda Gavin Cooke that he had deliberately toned down his “false” evidence in a “cowardly” way, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard on Tuesday.

Garda Cooke rejected the claims while giving evidence on day 13 of the trial.

Mr Murphy (34) along with South Dublin councillors Michael Murphy (53) and Kieran Mahon (39) and four other men have pleaded not guilty to falsely imprisoning then tánaiste Joan Burton and her advisor Karen O’Connell by restricting their personal liberty without their consent at Fortunestown Road, Jobstown, Tallaght on November 15th, 2014.

The two women were attending a graduation ceremony at An Cosán adult education centre in Jobstown when anti-water charges protestors began demonstrating around them. They were trapped in cars for about three hours, the trial has heard.

Garda Cooke was on duty on the day and the driver of the car in which the two women remained at a local church for about an hour, the trial heard.

Directing people

Garda Cooke described seeing Paul Murphy on a microphone “doing different things”. Under cross-examination from Mr Guerin, he said he saw Mr Murphy directing people where to stand.

The court was then shown CCTV footage from the relevant period, which Mr Guerin said to Garda Cooke “gives the lie to your evidence”.

“You weren’t even in the church grounds for most of the time Mr Murphy was there,” Mr Guerin said.

Garda Cooke said he did not see Mr Murphy in the CCTV footage, but said: “I’m clear as to seeing Mr Murphy that day.”

“What you’re telling the jury is that you saw something that couldn’t have happened,” Mr Guerin said.

He put it to Garda Cooke that as well as saying in his statement that Mr Murphy was directing people, he also gave evidence to that effect in another case in the District Court when Mr Murphy was not on trial.

‘Tone down’

Mr Guerin said Garda Cooke then tried to “tone down” his evidence in this trial by initially saying he saw Mr Murphy doing “different things”.

“I suggest to you not only did you deliberately falsify your account of what happened, you gave false evidence in the District Court and [moved] away from your falsehood in a dishonest and disreputable fashion because you knew your statement was false,” Mr Guerin said.

“That’s not true,” Garda Cooke replied. He said he gave a true statement and has always spoken the truth in court.

Mr Guerin said: “The reason you gave a false statement was you wanted to establish Paul Murphy was guilty of an offence. You knew his peaceful actions on the day would not be sufficient. You wanted to make him responsible for the behaviour of other people.”

Garda Cooke denied this was the case.

‘Vile’ language

Under questioning from prosecution barrister Tony McGillicuddy BL, Garda Cooke described how the protesters were shouting “vile” language as they surrounded the car. He said after helping to move Ms Burton and Ms O’Connell from the car to another vehicle, he saw two gardaí being assaulted by protesters.

He said he received “two boxes in the back of the head”.

Paul Murphy of Kingswood Heights, Tallaght; Kieran Mahon of Holbrook Grove, Tallaght; Michael Murphy of Whitechurch Way, Ballyboden, Dublin; Frank Donaghy (71) of Alpine Rise, Tallaght; Ken Purcell (50) of Kiltalown Green, Tallaght; Michael Banks (46) of Brookview Green, Tallaght and Scott Masterson (34) of Carrigmore Drive, Tallaght have denied the charges.

The trial continues .