Judgment reserved in conspiracy appeal

 

The Court of Criminal Appeal has reserved judgment on an appeal by a man who was jailed for 10 years arising from a bank robbery in which a detective was accidentally shot dead by colleagues.

John Bishop (40), St Ronan's Drive, Clondalkin, Dublin, was convicted at Portlaoise Circuit Criminal Court in November 2002 of conspiracy to rob following a robbery at the AIB in Abbeyleix, Co Laois, on December 7th, 2001. Two other men were also found guilty of conspiracy to rob. In the course of the attempted robbery, Det Sgt John Eiffe was shot dead by colleagues who had been carrying out a surveillance operation on a gang.

Among the several grounds of appeal, it was submitted that the trial judge had erred in law in admitting evidence of alleged acts or conduct before October 1st, 2001, when the alleged conspiracy related to dates "between October 1st and December 7th, 2001".

It was also claimed that the judge erred in admitting into evidence the acts and conduct of another alleged conspirator, who was not present or legally represented in the court, relating to acts or conduct before that date.

It was argued that the trial judge was wrong in admitting into evidence, on foot of a search warrant for a premises in Harmon Street, the contents of a car which was outside the authorisation of the warrant.

It was also pleaded that the judge wrongly allowed hearsay evidence to the effect that a garda was given permission to search the car by its alleged owner.

It was further argued that the judge had erred in admitting into evidence, records and memorandums of alleged Garda interviews with Bishop and in failing to discharge himself from continuing to preside over the trial.

The verdict on the conspiracy to rob charge was against the weight of evidence having regard to unanimous acquittals on other counts, it was argued.

Mr Justice Geoghegan, presiding, with Mr Justice de Valera and Mr Justice Gilligan, said the court would reserve its judgment.