Doctor tells court he gave Ward heroin substitute while in custody


A doctor told the Special Criminal Court yesterday that he gave a heroin substitute to the man accused of murdering journalist Veronica Guerin while he was in Garda custody.

Dr Lionel Williams said he watched Mr Paul Ward drink 40 milligrams of physeptone at Lucan Garda station. The doctor said Mr Ward had told him he was a drug abuser and he wanted physeptone.

Dr Williams said he left a dose with a garda after an initial examination but Mr Ward complained to him that he had not been given it on the night it was left for him. The doctor was giving evidence in the "trial within a trial" over the admissibility of certain evidence in the Paul Ward case. Mr Ward's lawyers have claimed he was arrested twice for the same offence in 1996.

The defence has also claimed Mr Ward was deprived of medication prescribed for him by a doctor. Mr Ward (34), from Crumlin, Dublin with an address at Walkinstown Road, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ms Guerin (36), a mother of one, at the Naas Road, Clondalkin, Co Dublin on June 26th, 1996.

The prosecution has claimed that Mr Ward was a member of the gang that planned and carried out the killing and he disposed of the murder weapon and the motorcycle afterwards.

Dr Williams said he was called to Lucan Garda station on October 16th and met Mr Ward, who told him he was a drug abuser and wanted physeptone. He also said he wanted to be examined to see if he had injuries. He examined him and found no injuries. He gave 40 milligrams of physeptone in liquid form to a garda to give to Mr Ward when he needed it.

Dr Williams said he saw him again on October 18th and Mr Ward pointed to a red mark on the left side of his neck and claimed he was assaulted by the Garda.

The doctor said it was a clearly visible mark. He said he did not think Mr Ward needed physeptone but he gave him 40 milligrams and watched him drink it. The doctor said Mr Ward did not appear to be unfit for interview and was physically well. He said Mr Ward told him he had not been given the physeptone left for him on October 16th until October 17th and then only after he had complained to his solicitor. Det Sgt Oliver Keating said he visited Mr Ward while he was being interviewed at Lucan station on October 18th and Mr Ward "looked alert". Garda Derek Quinn said he was authorised to take charge of the prisoners in Lucan station on October 18th, 1996.

Mr Ward was visited by his mother, Elizabeth, from 2.27 p.m.until 2.43 p.m. and then Dr Williams visited him, finishing at 2.46 p.m. Garda Quinn said Mr Ward appeared fine and made no complaints. Cross-examined by Mr Ward's counsel Mr Patrick MacEntee SC, Garda Quinn denied Dr Williams had visited Mr Ward before Mrs Ward. Garda Quinn denied a suggestion that the custody record showing Mrs Ward had visited her son before Dr Williams was "a doctored note".

The garda said that at 3.30 p.m. on October 18th, Det Garda John Clancy told him the prisoner was to be released without charge. Asked about the £412 cash and mobile phone that had been taken from Mr Ward when he was arrested, Garda Quinn said he was not aware Mr Ward had any property to be returned.

He said Mr Ward had not asked for any property to be returned. Garda Quinn agreed he was "surprised" when five minutes later Det Sgt Jerry Healy arrived back in the station with Mr Ward in custody. Det Sgt Healy told him Mr Ward had been arrested for an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

The garda said it was "none of his business" to question another garda about an arrest. Mr MacEntee said he was instructed that Mr Ward had looked out and had seen three policemen at the gate and had then gone out and pulled his jacket over his head.

Mr Ward had said Det Sgt Healy and another detective walked beside and behind him and Det Sgt Healy was holding on to his jacket and never let him go, but Garda Quinn said he did not see any of that happen.

When Mr Justice Barr intervened to say he understood it was Garda practice for arrested persons to be asked to sign for any property taken from them and to sign for it again when it was returned, prosecuting counsel Mr Peter Charleton SC said there was a custody regulation covering that. Det Sgt Healy said he interviewed Mr Ward on three occasions on October 16th and 18th. He said Mr Ward seemed to be OK and had no difficulty understanding the questions and made no complaints.

After he was visited by his mother on October 18th he appeared to be upset by something. Cross-examined by Mr MacEntee, Det Sgt Healy said he could not locate notes he had made of the first interview he did with Mr Ward. He said he had not made notes of the second interview but had made notes of the third interview.

He said he did not know when he saw Mr Ward on October 16th that he was a drug abuser and was not aware that physeptone had been left for him by a doctor and given to a garda. The trial continues today.