Lawyers for Limerick man John Dundon are seeking to have his trial for the murder of Garryowen rugby player Shane Geoghegan adjourned until next year after they received thousands of pages of what was described as “thrown together” investigative material.
John Dundon (29), with a last address in Limerick, is due to stand trial next month for the murder of 28-year-old Shane Geoghegan at Clonmore, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, Limerick, on November 9th, 2008.
Counsel for Dundon, Mr Shane O’Callaghan BL, this morning (Friday) told the Special Criminal Court that 26,082 pages of evidence, 1,226 discs of CCTV footage, two hard drives and a memory stick were disclosed to Dundon’s solicitors at the beginning of the month.
He said that Madden & Finucane Solicitors had estimated that one person working for seven hours per day would take 500 days just to read through the material, while the CCTV footage ran to some 2,068 hours approximately.
Mr O’Callaghan told the court that the disclosure furnished to the firm of solicitors was also “unacceptable”, as it had been “thrown together” and was comprised of mixed-up, unnumbered pages, while a number of pages were missing and a large amount of the discs did not work properly.
He said that Madden & Finucane had someone working full time just to “sort out” the material disclosed, a task that was “nowhere near” completion and would not be concluded until the end of next week.
The garda investigation had been going on for four-and-a-half years but the material, which should have been disclosed to the defence in October last year when the matter was listed for trial, had for some “unknown reason” been handed over just one month before the trial was due to commence, Mr O’Callaghan said.
Mr O’Callaghan submitted that this was “totally unacceptable” and in the interests of a fair trial he asked that the matter be adjourned until a date next year.
Counsel for the State, Mr Tom O’Connell SC, told the court that most of the documents were generated in the course of an earlier, overlapping investigation involving a different individual represented by the same firm of solicitors.
He said that most of the material contained in the recent disclosure had also been disclosed to Dundon’s defence team in April.
Mr O’Connell said the prosecution also had “serious concerns” about the security of the proposed chief prosecution witness in the case and submitted that the trial should proceed on the date set.
Presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler said that, having regard to evidence on the security of the prosecution witness and the age of the case, the court believed the matter “should not be postponed if at all possible”.
However, he said there was a problem with disclosure and a number of matters of ascertainable fact remained in doubt.
Mr Justice Butler said the court would adjourn the matter until next Wednesday, allowing both the prosecution and defence time to present the court with the facts on whether there was duplicate disclosure.
He said that ultimately the court may decide to proceed with the matter and have the trial court rule on whether a fair trial can be had, but at the moment would await the facts on the disclosure issue.
Mr Justice Butler remanded Dundon in custody to appear before the court via video link on May 15th.
The case was brought before the non-jury Special Criminal Court in August last year as the Director of Public Prosecutions certified that the ordinary courts were inadequate to secure the administration of justice.
The trial is expected to last three to four weeks.