A garda has been accused of testifying “in a dishonest and disreputable fashion” about the actions of Solidarity TD Paul Murphy during the Jobstown water protest.
Defence barrister Sean Guerin, SC, said Garda Gavin Cooke had deliberately toned down his false evidence in a cowardly way at Dublin circuit criminal court yesterday.
Mr Cooke rejected the claims while giving evidence on day 13 of the trial.
The court was told Garda Cooke was on duty on the day of the protest and was driving the car in which Joan Burton and her advisor Karen O Connell were in for about an hour.
In his evidence Garda Cooke said he saw Paul Murphy on a microphone “doing different things” and directing people where to stand.
The court was then shown CCTV footage from the time frame which Mr Guerin said to Garda Cooke “gives the lie to your evidence”.
“You weren’t even in the church grounds for most of the time Mr Murphy was there,” Mr Guerin said.
Garda Cooke said he did not see Mr Murphy in the CCTV footage, but said: “I’m clear as to seeing Mr Murphy that day.”
“What you’re telling the jury is that you saw something that couldn’t have happened,” Mr Guerin said.
He put it to Garda Cooke that as well as saying in his statement that Mr Murphy was directing people, he also gave evidence to that effect in another case in the District Court when Mr Murphy was not on trial.
Mr Guerin said Garda Cooke then tried to “tone down” his evidence in this trial by initially saying he saw Mr Murphy doing “different things”.
“I suggest to you not only did you deliberately falsify your account of what happened, you gave false evidence in the District Court and [moved] away from your falsehood in a dishonest and disreputable fashion because you knew your statement was false.”
“That’s not true,” Garda Cooke replied saying he gave a true statement and has always spoken the truth in court.
Mr Guerin said: “The reason you gave a false statement was you wanted to establish Paul Murphy was guilty of an offence. You knew his peaceful actions on the day would not be sufficient. You wanted to make him responsible for the behaviour of other people.”
Garda Cooke denied this was the case.
Mr Guerin continued:
“Why was your evidence to the jury different from your written statement when you re-read it today?
“Only when I cross examined you and raised the issue of direction now you are you confirming it.”
Garda Cooke replied “I gave evidence as I saw it.”
Under questioning from prosecution barrister Tony McGillicuddy BL, Garda Cooke described how the protesters were shouting “vile” language as they surrounded the car.
He said after helping to move Ms Burton and Ms O’Connell from the car to another vehicle, he saw two gardaí being assaulted by protesters.
He said he received “two boxes in the back of the head”.
The trial continues.