Aaron Brady loses appeal over conviction for murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe – The Irish Times

Aaron Brady loses appeal over conviction for murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe – The Irish Times

Aaron Brady, convicted of police murder, has failed to have his conviction for the capital murder of Detective Constable Adrian Donohoe overturned.

The Court of Appeal today rejected nearly 50 grounds of appeal put forward by Brady’s lawyers during a seven-day hearing last October, in what the three-judge panel called “one of the longest cases ever heard before it.”

Brady will remain in prison to serve his minimum sentence of 40 years to life in prison, nearly four years after he was convicted by a majority jury verdict.

Brady was convicted in August 2020 of the murder of Detective Constable Donohoe, a garda acting in the course of his duties. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 40 years to serve.

Justice John Edwards this morning delivered a summary of the 363-page judgment delivered by the three-judge court.

The three judges dismissed all grounds of appeal, including a complaint by Brady’s lawyers that the integrity of his trial had been “well and truly breached” when key witness Molly Staunton, who gave evidence via video link from New York during the Covid-19 crisis, was interrupted by an unseen man, who told her to “stop right now”, before the video link was “dramatically” cut off.

Brady’s lawyers told the three-judge court that the incident warranted a new trial.

Rejecting that argument today, Justice Edwards said that “the interruptions” that occurred did not pose “a real and substantial risk of an unfair trial that could not have been avoided by the trial judge’s instructions, who carefully and correctly addressed the jury’s question of who was responsible for the interruptions, acknowledged the lack of supervision and referred to the interruptions as coming from the witness’s boyfriend.”

Ms Staunton told the murder trial that Brady had said he had to “bear the guilt of murdering a police officer in Ireland”. Ms Staunton said in her direct evidence that Brady had also claimed, during a “rant” while drunk, that he was “the most feared man in Ireland”.

Brady, now 33, was led into court by prison officers for today’s sentencing. Dressed in a navy suit and pink tie, Brady did not react as Judge Edwards confirmed that the jury’s verdict would not be overturned.

Brady, formerly of New Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, is serving a life sentence with a minimum of 40 years after being convicted of murdering Det Gda Donohoe (41) at Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgen, Co Louth, on January 25, 2013.

Brady was also sentenced to 14 years in prison for the robbery, a sentence that will run concurrently with the life sentence.

Det Gda Donohoe was on a cash-in-transit mission when he was ambushed by a five-man gang and shot dead. The attackers stole €7,000 in cash during the robbery, which lasted 58 seconds.

Brady’s trial was the longest murder case in Irish legal history, lasting 122 days of hearings.

The father-of-one was convicted of the murder of Det Gda Donohoe by an 11-1 majority jury at the Central Criminal Court on August 12, 2020 and sentenced to the mandatory life sentence for murder in October 2020 after an eight-month trial.

As he had been convicted of murdering a guard acting in the line of duty, the trial judge ordered that he serve a minimum sentence of 40 years in prison.

Judge Edwards told the court this morning that Brady’s hearing was the longest the three-judge court has conducted in its 10-year history.

“The number of issues in dispute in this case was greater than in any other case to date,” he said, adding that this was the reason for the “very substantial” length of the judgment.