Sligo woman who staged musician’s suicide has balance of sentence suspended

Former heroin addict Janice Brady assisted her brother by falsifying the scene of the crime

Janice Brady had smoked heroin with her brother while the body of Martin ‘Matt’ Kivlehan (pictured) lay on the floor of his own home.

Janice Brady had smoked heroin with her brother while the body of Martin ‘Matt’ Kivlehan (pictured) lay on the floor of his own home.

 

A Sligo woman who staged a talented musician’s suicide in order to impede the prosecution of her brother, who has since been jailed for life for murder, has had the balance of her four-year prison sentence suspended.

The Central Criminal Court heard on Monday that Janice Brady (29) no longer has to serve the balance of her jail term on condition that she resides with her father at his address in Co Donegal.

However, Mr Justice Michael White warned Brady, who has a very serious heroin addiction, that she would be back before the courts very quickly if she started taking drugs again.

Sentencing the mother-of-one last week, Mr Justice White noted she had already served 28 months in custody and, taking this into account, had only a short portion of the four-year sentence left to serve. As a result, the judge said he would consider suspending the balance of the sentence but needed the “stronger reassurance” as to a permanent address at which the defendant could reside.

At a brief hearing today, defence counsel Michael Bowman SC informed the judge there was “no difficulty” with his client residing at her father’s address in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal. A solicitor for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said the address had been approved.

Addressing the former heroin addict, Mr Justice White said he was not making an order that she attend any addiction services as it was entirely a matter for her regarding what services she engaged with. “It’s up to you. You will be back before the courts very quickly if you go back on it,” warned the judge, adding that he would put her under the general supervision of probation services.

Following this, the judge said he would suspend the balance of Brady’s sentence on condition that she reside with her father in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal. Mr Justice White emphasised to Brady that she cannot change address “willy-nilly” and it must firstly be approved by Detective Sergeant Martin McHale of Sligo Garda Station or the court.

Brady then entered a bond to be of good behaviour for the balance of the four-year sentence and for any change of address to be approved by Det Sgt McHale or the court.

At her sentence hearing last week, the court heard that Janice Brady had smoked heroin with her brother while the body of Martin ‘Matt’ Kivlehan (60) lay on the floor of his own home.

In November, the defendant’s brother Keith Brady (32) was found guilty of murder after his trial heard he had stabbed Mr Kivlehan to death. The drug user, with an address at Cartron Estate, Sligo had denied murdering Mr Kivlehan on August 2nd or 3rd, 2015 at Mr Kivlehan’s home at New Apartments, Holborn St, Sligo. His plea to guilty of manslaughter had been rejected by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Janice Brady, with a last address at Maryville Hostel, Finisklin, Sligo, pleaded guilty two years ago to impeding the apprehension or prosecution of her brother between August 2nd and August 3rd, 2015 at an address in Sligo, knowing or believing that he was guilty of a killing.

A postmortem found that Mr Kivlehan suffered two stab wounds, one to either side of his neck. The stab wound to the right severed an artery, which caused his death.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice White said Janice Brady had assisted her brother by falsifying the scene of the crime to give a “haphazard impression” as to how the offence occurred. The court heard Janice Brady had placed the deceased’s hand on a knife to make his death look “staged” or “like something else”.

Mitigating factors included her guilty plea and the fact she actively assisted the investigation during her detention, when she sought a meeting with her brother, he continued. Following this, the defendant gave an explanation to gardaí as to how the offence occurred and did not resile from her original account, he said.

The judge remarked that the accused is a different person when she is not addicted to heroin. However, he said her substantial previous record was an aggravating factor. Brady has 73 previous convictions including robbery, theft and assault. “Clearly her offending is tied in fundamentally with her very serious drug addiction,” the judge said.

Mr Justice White said the appropriate headline sentence was six years but considering the mitigating factors, he would impose a four-year sentence.

Janice Brady was previously released on bail, despite objections from the Director of Public Prosecutions, after pleading guilty to the offence in November 2017. A warrant was issued for her arrest in March of this year after she breached her bail conditions by testing positive for drugs.