Estranged wife insists detective perjured himself during trial

 

The estranged wife of a detective Garda yesterday stood over her allegation that her husband told her he had perjured himself during the trial on drug charges of Co Donegal nightclub owner Mr Frank Shortt.

Ms Sheena McMahon added she could not recall on what occasion her husband Noel had told her he had perjured himself but she was "certain" he had said it. She had not questioned him about it because he was a "violent man".

The Court of Criminal Appeal was told by Mr Edward Comyn SC, for the DPP, that Det McMahon would deny that he had ever said to his wife that he had perjured himself.

Mr Comyn also said Det McMahon had been asked by the Carty Garda inquiry (into allegations of corruption among gardaí in Donegal) about the perjury allegation in 1999 around the same time as his wife first made the allegation to the Carty team and had responded. However, that response was not recorded because Ms McMahon had said at the time she did not want her allegation included in her statement, counsel said.

Ms McMahon said she had not initially wanted to include the perjury allegation in her statement to the Carty inquiry because she was concerned her husband might lose his job and they had young children.

She had changed her mind after a friend told her Mr Shortt was seeking to reopen his case and because the matter was on her mind. She made the perjury allegation in a memorandum of 2000. That document also related to another "very serious" matter.

Ms McMahon was being cross-examined at the resumed hearing of an application by Mr Shortt, of Redcastle, Inishowen, for a certificate declaring a miscarriage of justice in his case. Mr Shortt served a three year prison sentence after he was convicted in 1995 of knowingly allowing the sale of drugs at his nightclub, the Point Inn, Inishowen.

In November 2000, the conviction was quashed by the Court of Criminal Appeal with no opposition from the DPP.

During the current hearing, which opened on May 7th, Ms Adrienne McGlinchey, of Letterkenny, and Ms McMahon have made a number of allegations against Det McMahon and Supt Kevin Lennon, both formerly attached to Buncrana Garda station.

Yesterday, Mr Comyn said Det McMahon would say his wife had made allegations to a number of gardaí and others about a number of matters. The allegations were later repeated back to him and he had recorded these in a handwritten document. Ms McMahon said she had taken the handwritten document from their home in Letterkenny sometime before gardaí raided the house in September 1999. She had given the document to a journalist, Mr Frank Connolly, and it had been featured on a TV3 programme about alleged corruption among gardaí in Co Donegal. That programme was screened on July 31st, 2000.

She agreed she had discussed her marital problems with a number of people, including Supt Lennon's wife but denied discussing them with others.

She believed the only persons she had mentioned the perjury allegation to were the Carty team. She was not sure if she had made it to a man, now deceased, who was a friend of both herself and of Mr Shortt. She did not think so. Nor did she think she told another garda of the allegation. She denied the allegation was made relating to matrimonial proceedings.

Mr Comyn said Det McMahon would deny he had told his wife there was a bomb in a shed at their home. He would also deny she had told him that another garda had found detonators in a box in the shed. Mr Comyn said Supt Lennon would deny a claim by Ms McMahon that the superintendent had been reading from a notebook of her husband while another garda was typing a statement for the Shortt trial at the computer in the McMahon home.

The hearing continues today.