herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Man found guilty of one-punch assault which claimed Irishman Thomas Keaney's life in Perth

Thomas Keaney
Thomas Keaney

A man has been found guilty of manslaughter in Australia after a one-punch assault which claimed the life of Galway man Thomas Keaney.

Abbas Al Jrood (23) was accused of unlawfully killing Mr Keaney outside a kebab shop in Perth on December 17, 2013.

Despite initially improving after the attack, Mr Keaney (23) died in hospital 10 days later after his life support was switched off.

Mr Al Jrood’s lawyer argued that he pushed rather than punched Mr Keaney and that the Irishman’s death was a “tragic accident”.

Prosecutors alleged Al Jrood snuck up on Mr Keaney who fell backwards and hit his head on the footpath, causing a severe brain injury.

Members of Mr Keaney's family were in Perth for the trial where the jury returned this morning with a guilty verdict to the charge of unlawful killing.

After the verdict his sister Lauren called for an end to one-punch attacks.

"The coward's punch has shattered our lives and we ask everyone to realise the risk in partaking in such actions. We would never want anyone to go through this type of loss,” she said.

She described her brother as a “great man” who was carving out a future for himself in Australia. Mr Keaney had been in Australia for 13 months and on the day he was allegedly assaulted he received his second Working Holiday Visa.

While he had initially made a good recovery and had even spoken with his family back home, his condition deteriorated on Christmas Eve. His worried parents Ann and Tom had to wait until St Stephen's Day before they could get a flight to Perth. His friends had kept a vigil by his bedside, taking it in turns to stay with him until his parents arrived on St Stephen's Day.

Al Jrood was remanded in custody until a sentencing hearing in July.

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