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Monday 5 December 2016

Mahon murder trial jury break after two hours of deliberation

Dave and Audrey Mahon, mother of Dean Fitzpatrick (RollingNews.ie)
Dave and Audrey Mahon, mother of Dean Fitzpatrick (RollingNews.ie)

A jury in the trial of a 45-year-old man accused of murdering his stepson was expected to resume its deliberations today.

David Mahon (45) has denied murdering father-of-one Dean Fitzpatrick on May 26, 2013, a day after the deceased interfered with his bicycle to annoy him.

The 23-year-old received a single stab wound to the stomach outside the apartment his mother Audrey shared with Mr Mahon at Burnell Square, Northern Cross on the Malahide Road in north Dublin.

It is the prosecution case that Mr Mahon was drunk, angry and agitated and he intentionally stabbed Mr Fitzpatrick, before fleeing the scene.

Mr Mahon has claimed that it was an accident, or what his barrister described as "accidental self-impalement".

Mr Mahon told gardai: "I didn't stab him, he walked into the knife."

The defence had also raised the possibility that Mr Fitzpatrick could have died by suicide, and Mr Mahon told gardai "part of me thinks he [Mr Fitzpatrick] wanted it".

The defence claimed his account of what happened was not contradicted by the scientific evidence.

Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan completed her direction to the jury yesterday morning before sending them out to consider their verdict at 12.43pm.

Cease

The jury broke for lunch just after 1pm, and they retired again at 2pm yesterday to continue their deliberations.

At 4pm, Ms Justice Heneghan brought the jury back to court and formally informed them that they were to cease their deliberations for the day.

The court heard that the jury had deliberated at that stage for two hours and 21 minutes.

Ms Justice Heneghan ordered the jury not to speak to anyone about the trial, and she reminded them that they were not to look at newspapers or social media.

The judge told the jury to return today at 11am.

Ms Justice Heneghan began charging the jury on Tuesday and she finished by giving them her summary of the evidence.

She told the jury they must look at the evidence in a "cold, clear and dispassionate way".

She said the question was not whether the jury thinks Mr Mahon was guilty or not guilty, but whether the prosecution had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty.

Ms Justice Heneghan told the jury they must remember that the prosecution must always prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

She said Mr Mahon told gardai, during interview, that it was "his fault" Mr Fitzpatrick was dead.

The judge said the jury was not to confuse fault with causation, and that they would have to consider if there was the "intent to cause death or serious injury" by Mr Mahon.

Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan told the jury that they had three possible verdicts open to them.

She said they could find Mr Mahon guilty of murder, not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter, or not guilty of murder.

The judge said that the jury must find Mr Mahon guilty of murder if they found that Mr Fitzpatrick was unlawfully killed by Mr Mahon, and that he intended to kill or cause him serious harm.

She also said the jury must find Mr Mahon guilty of murder if the prosecution had proved that the stabbing wasn't an accident.

Doubt

Ms Justice Heneghan said the jury must find Mr Mahon guilty of manslaughter if the prosecution had proved Mr Fitzpatrick was unlawfully killed by Mr Mahon, but that they had failed to satisfy the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to kill or cause him serious harm.

Ms Justice Heneghan said that if the prosecution had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that what happened was not an accident, then the jury must find Mr Mahon not guilty.

Ms Justice Heneghan has told the jury she required a unanimous verdict.

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