Detective asked woman to 'plant drugs'

 

A Garda detective asked a woman to go into a Co Donegal nightclub and plant drugs there prior to the club being raided by gardaí, the Court of Criminal Appeal was told yesterday. The owner of the Point Inn nightclub, Mr Frank Shortt, was later jailed for three years for allowing his premises to be used in 1992 for the sale of drugs.

Mr Shortt's 1995 conviction was quashed by the appeal court in November 2000 on grounds that newly discovered facts rendered it unsafe. The DPP did not oppose the quashing of the conviction and also did not seek a retrial.

Mr Shortt, who served his sentence, is now seeking a certificate that there was a miscarriage of justice in his case.

Yesterday, Ms Adrienne McGlinchey, with an address in Letterkenny, told the appeal court she was given money by Det Garda Noel McMahon, formerly attached to Buncrana Garda station, to buy drugs and was also asked to go into the Point Inn, Quigley's Point, Inishowen, and plant drugs there. She was asked by him "so many times" to buy drugs, "he was ringing me morning, noon and night", she added.

She had asked a girl she worked with about buying drugs but never bought the drugs. She was later told by Det McMahon he had got someone else to get the drugs. Years later, Det McMahon told her they had used the drugs at the Point Inn.

She agreed she had told gardaí (who were part of the Carty inquiry into allegations of Garda corruption in Co Donegal) she believed Mr Shortt was "set up" in the Point Inn by Det McMahon. The detective had later told her he felt guilty about Mr Shortt. She only realised years later Mr Shortt had gone to jail over drugs on his premises.

She believed certain gardaí had gone into the Point Inn and planted drugs there. She had been shown a map of the club by Det McMahon and he had asked her to put drugs in certain places there.

She said she had been supposed to contact Det McMahon on the weekend of a planned raid on the Point Inn and he was to collect her. She was supposed to drop the drugs. If anything went wrong, she was supposed to say she was in Lifford so she wouldn't be blamed for the drugs. Det McMahon was to drop her there afterwards. However, she got very drunk in Lifford and did not contact Det McMahon. She had never agreed to plant the drugs but Det McMahon thought she would, she said. She was in Lifford Garda station that weekend and she and another girl were taken from Lifford to Letterkenny in a Garda car.

Ms McGlinchey said she believed Det McMahon was looking for drugs so he would have a lot to show his superiors and get more money for overtime.

It had nothing to do with Frank Shortt, she said. Det McMahon had been undercover for about two months at the Point Inn, people recognised him and he could not get drugs there. She said Det McMahon told many people Mr Shortt was allowing drugs into the Point Inn.

Supt Kevin Lennon, also formerly attached to Buncrana, had given her a large sum of money on one occasion but this had nothing to do with the Point Inn, Ms McGlinchey said. Asked what the money was for, she said she would prefer not to answer on grounds it might incriminate her.

Asked about interviews with the Carty inquiry team in which she was recorded as having said Supt Lennon gave her £800 to buy drugs, she said she could not recall saying that. She had never got drugs for Supt Lennon. She had had conversations with Supt Lennon and Det McMahon where they "got me so drunk" she didn't know if half of what they were telling her was true, she said. She didn't recall saying that Det McMahon had always told her Supt Lennon wanted her to get the drugs as well.

She said she had been interviewed by the Carty inquiry for lengthy periods in 1999 until midnight and could not recall whether she had said certain things or not.

Ms McGlinchey was summoned to court yesterday to give evidence in the application by Mr Shortt. Counsel for Ms McGlinchey unsuccessfully challenged the witness summons and also failed in an application to have her anonymity preserved on the grounds her life was in danger. The court was told she had made statements incriminating certain gardaí in certain matters and that threats had been made by gardaí against her. Ms McGlinchey said she feared for her life.

During her evidence yesterday, Mr Eoin McGonigal said Ms McGlinchey appeared to be going against what she had said in interviews with the Carty investigation team and he might be applying to treat her as hostile.

Earlier, Mr McGonigal had said the interviews recorded Ms McGlinchey as saying she was paid sums of money by Supt Lennon to buy drugs and place them in the Point Inn.

She was also recorded as saying she bought the drugs from a person at the JD factory in Carndonagh and gave them to Supt Lennon in a car in Letterkenny. She had also said another Garda, Ms Tina Fowley, was in that car. She had also alleged in the interviews that Supt Lennon, Det McMahon and other gardaí had set up Mr Shortt.

Counsel read from memorandums of extracts of a number of interviews with Ms McGlinchey. Only one of these was signed.

Mr McGonigal said if these matters had been known at the time of Mr Shortt's trial, there would probably have been either no prosecution at all or his client would have been acquitted.

The matters came to light as a result of documents discovered to his side by the State. The documents included the interviews with Ms McGlinchey, interviews with another woman who had said she had seen Det McMahon, Supt Lennon, Garda Tina Fowley and another garda at a computer. The woman had said they appeared to be editing a statement in the Shortt case. Supt Lennon was calling out things from a notebook which she knew to be Det McMahon's and was saying "put this in" or "leave that out".

In her evidence, Ms McGlinchey said she had known Det McMahon and Supt Kevin Lennon for about 12 years. She described Mr McMahon as an acquaintance.

She had many conversations with both gardaí and had drunk with them in Buncrana Garda station, Mr McMahon's home, Garda cars and her own flat. She had been very drunk on many of these occasions and had been told a statement had been made that her drink was "spiked" on a particular occasion.

Supt Lennon had spoken about visiting Mr Shortt and had said he had a hard time with him and didn't like his attitude. She said Supt Lennon had got promoted because of the Point Inn and Det McMahon was annoyed about that.

Ms McGlinchey also said Det McMahon was blackmailing her from about 1991 to 1995 in relation to things she could "not really talk about". Det McMahon had told her gardaí had used others to plant drugs but he had not named the gardaí involved.

At the start of the hearing, Mr Edward Comyn SC, for the State, said he had just received a notebook of Det McMahon's. That notebook was sought by Mr Shortt's lawyers at the latter's trial in 1995. Mr McGonigal said the notebook came within the terms of a June 2000 order for discovery of documents.

Yetserday afternoon, Mr McGonigal said Mr Shortt's solicitor had just received a number of documents, including diaries from 1992, from a witness in the case. The court said Mr Shortt's solicitor could peruse the documents.

The hearing continues today.