John Dundon trial adjourned for two weeks as key witness hospitalised

Monday 08 July 2013 16.07
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John Dundon has denied murdering Shane Geoghegan in November 2008
John Dundon has denied murdering Shane Geoghegan in November 2008
The court was told Mr Geoghegan was the unintended victim of a shooting
The court was told Mr Geoghegan was the unintended victim of a shooting

The trial of Limerick man John Dundon for the murder of rugby player Shane Geoghegan has been adjourned for at least two weeks because of the hospitalisation of a key prosecution witness.

Tom O'Connell SC, prosecuting, told the Special Criminal Court that witness April Collins had a medical problem.

He said she was facing serious medical complications and was currently hospitalised and likely to remain so for the next two-to-three weeks.

John Dundon, 30, with a last address at Hyde Road, Limerick, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 28-year-old Mr Geoghegan at Clonmore, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle in Limerick, on 9 November 2008.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said the court would put the matter back for mention on 22 July.

If Ms Collins was then in a position to give evidence, the trial could resume the following day.

Mr O'Connell told the court that he did not have a medical report, but investigating officer Detective Inspector Brian Sugrue had consulted with Ms Collins.

For the sake of Ms Collins' privacy and for security reasons, Mr O'Connell said he did not want to go into the matter further.

He added that the prosecution did not want to start the trial without an essential witness, and believed that the court had the option to either hear the evidence from hospital via video link or adjourn the trial until October with a view to finishing the case early in the next court term.

Defence counsel Mr Brendan Nix SC said that he was aware that Ms Collins had a natural medical complication, but he would be "most unhappy" to cross-examine the witness via video link as she was an experienced witness.

He said that his client had no objection to an adjournment application.

Mr Justice Kearns said the court would make no adjudication on the suggestion of video link evidence, but it was clear that the case could not proceed in truncated form.

He added that the court had previously indicated its willingness to sit in August during the court recess in order to see the trial completed, while it was noted that there were other cases listed for trial in the Special Criminal Court in October and the Supreme Court had indicated that Mr Dundon's trial should proceed.

At the opening of the prosecution case last Thursday, the non-jury court heard it was the State's case that Mr Geoghegan, a Garryowen rugby player, was the unintended victim of a shooting that was meant for another man and was ordered by John Dundon.

Mr O'Connell told the court that the actual target was a man named John McNamara, who had the nickname 'Pitchfork' and lived close to Mr Geoghegan in the Limerick suburb of Clonmore.

He said the court would hear from Ms Collins, who would give evidence that John Dundon ordered another man, Barry Doyle, to kill Mr McNamara.