herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Killing of man hit with baseball bat 'needs DPP review'

A CORONER has requested the DPP review a case of a man who died as a result of blunt force trauma after he was hit on the head with a baseball bat.

Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin told the inquest into the death of Krzysztof Ciesielski that he would like the decision reviewed after hearing evidence from two eye witnesses who saw Mr Ciesielski suffer a blow to the head with a baseball bat.

The inquest heard that four people, three men and one woman had been arrested in relation to the incident but the DPP had opted not to pursue any cases against them.

Mr Ciesielski had been drinking with two friends Adam Syrkowski and Agnieszka Krenska at a green area near a housing estate in Athenry, Co Galway on May 30, 2013 when they were approached by four young Irish men.

Trouble

"It was hard to understand what they were saying but they told us to f**k off out of there," Mr Syrkowski told the inquest. "I tried to tell them it was all ok and we were not looking for trouble."

Mr Syrkowski described through an interpreter how some of the group then went to a nearby house and returned with an older man who was carrying a baseball bat.

He described the man as "walking calmly with the bat at his side".

The Polish man said he then felt a blow to his head from behind and when he looked up he saw his friend "falling down straight onto his face".

"It was not a normal fall, his arms were to his side, he was not trying to protect himself. It looked to me he was unconscious as he was falling," he said.

Mr Ciesielski was unresponsive at the scene and never regained consciousness. He died on June 5, 2013 at University Hospital Galway.

A post mortem showed he had suffered major blunt force trauma to the head leading him to lose immediate consciousness. The subsequent fall to the ground was a secondary blunt force trauma.

Dr MacLoughlin questioned if the reason for the altercation was known.

Det Insp Michael Coppinger said it was believed to have broken out after the group claimed to have been offered cannabis by the Polish men. This was denied by one witness.

Det Insp Coppinger said a small amount of cannabis resin was found at a container at the scene.

Prosecution

The coroner asked if the DPP had given a reason for the decision not to prosecute and was informed by Det Insp Coppinger that they had not.

Dr MacLoughlin described the incident as a very serious assault adding that this was "totally new ground" for him.

He said he was presently unable to offer a verdict of unlawful killing.

"I think it would be reasonable to ask the DPP to have a look at it again based on the evidence presented to me and the jury," he added.

He recorded a narrative verdict that Mr Ciesielski had died on June 5, 2012 and the cause of death of blunt force trauma to the head.

Dr MacLoughlin sympathised with Mr Ciesielski's partner Ewelina Sabczak describing it as a terrible tragedy that he should die in such circumstances while a visitor to Ireland.

hnews@herald.ie

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