Hitman case enters closing stages

 

The trial of a Clare woman and a Las Vegas poker dealer accused of hiring a conspiring to kill her partner and his two sons has entered its closing stages.

The jury in the trial of Ms Sharon Collins (45), with an address at Ballybeg House, Kildysart Road Ennis and Mr Essam Eid (52), an Egyptian man with a Las Vegas address have heard the prosecution closing speech and that of Ms Collins defence.

Ms Collins & Mr Eid have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to kill P.J., Robert and Niall Howard between August 1st 2006 and 26 September 2006. Ms Collins also denies hiring Mr Eid to kill the three men.

Mr Eid denies demanding ˆThe trial of a Clare woman and a Las Vegas poker dealer accused of hiring a
conspiring to kill her partner and his two sons has entered its closing
stages.

The jury in the trial of Ms Sharon Collins (45), with an address at Ballybeg House, Kildysart Road Ennis and Mr Essam Eid (52), an Egyptian man with a Las Vegas address have heard the prosecution closing speech and that of Ms Collins defence.

Ms Collins & Mr Eid have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to kill P.J., Robert and Niall Howard between August 1st 2006 and 26 September 2006. Ms Collins also denies hiring Mr Eid to kill the three men.

Mr Eid denies demanding €100,000 from Mr Robert Howard to cancel the contracts. He also denies breaking into the Howard family business at Westgate Business Park and stealing two computers, some computer cables, a
digital clock and a poster of old Irish money and then handling the stolen items.

Closing the case for the prosecution Ms Una Ni Raifeartaigh BL told the jury of eight men and four women that it had been “an extraordinary and bizarre trial.”

She urged them to look behind appearances to the truth underneath, “treachery lies in honeyed words”, and warned them against underestimating the case before them.

“There might be a feeling abroad that at times there is a triviality about this case or a bewilderment because no one was actually killed. Ricin was found in the prison cell of Mr Eid and that takes this case out of fantasy
and speculation.”

She said “we are dealing with fools but we are dealing with dangerous fools.”

She told them that the case against Mr Eid is “overwhelming. It is open and shut.”

She said there were fourteen points that proved that Sharon Collins was Lyingeyes but the “smoking gun” was the fact that the person logging onto the Iridium laptop in Ballybeg House at 8.10 am on August 16 2006 as
Lyingeyes had checked the tracking number of a FedEx parcel Ms Collins admits sending to the home of Mr Eid.

Ms Collins said in her evidence yesterday that she had given the tracking number to no one else in Ireland.

Ms Ni Raifeartaigh told the jury “from a distance this may look like a cheap thriller that Sharon Collins herself may have written but this is a tragedy to everybody involved.”

She told the jury she was asking them to do no more or no less than to bring in a verdict according to the evidence.

Closing the defence for Ms Collins, Mr Michael Bowman BL warned the jury against slavishly following computer evidence. He told them that the treatment of witness Mr John Keating was a microcosm of the case as a whole.

Mr Keating originally gave evidence for the prosecution on June 5th but was subsequently recalled at the end of the prosecution case after he told Mr Bowman under cross examination that he had spent the morning of August 16th 2006 with Ms Collins, the day when the prosecution allege she closed the deal with Mr Eid.

Mr Keating was also called as a defence witness for Ms Collins earlier today when he proved that he had been in the UK between July 28th and August 14th.

Mr Bowman told the jury that the appalling way Mr Keating had been treated mirrored the way Ms Collins had been treated by gardai. Mr Keating was questioned by gardai for three and three quarter hours, his diary was taken and forensically analysed and his phone was taken and analysed.

He told the jury that the defence was a “straw against the powerful hurricane of the prosecution” but urged the jury not to blindly follow computer generated material.”

The trial will continue tomorrow before Mr Justice Roderick Murphy when the jury will hear the closing statements of Mr Eid’s defence team.