herald

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Suicide verdict quashed on model's ex-boyfriend

A SUICIDE verdict over the controversial death of Marius Simanaitis, the former boyfriend of model Irma Mali, has been quashed at the High Court.

Mr Justice Peter Charleton ordered that a new inquest be held.

An inquest jury heard from witnesses in January saying Mr Simanaitis (28) had shot himself in the head with a handgun at his apartment off the Navan Road, north Dublin, on March 11 last year.

But Mr Simanaitis' brother, Donatus, claimed he and his family, who believe he was murdered, should have been allowed to attend the inquest where the suicide verdict was returned.

It was claimed the family had been led to believe the inquest would be adjourned after their solicitor told the coroner the family would have difficulty in leaving Lithuania for the hearing.

Donatus, described as president of the International MMA Bushido Fighting Federation Network, then brought High Court judicial review proceedings against the Dublin County Coroner Kieran Geraghty over the suicide finding.

The family sought a re-hearing of the inquest on Mr Simanaitis, father of Ms Mali's daughter. She is now dating Danny O'Donoghue, lead singer of chart-topping group The Script.

The coroner argued he had acted in good faith in refusing to adjourn the inquest after he received information from the gardai that the lives of witnesses scheduled to give evidence at the inquest were under threat.

The gardai also had legitimate concerns that those witnesses might not turn up should the inquest be adjourned, the coroner argued.

The judge said that while there was nothing to suggest a garda investigation was anything but proper, the coroner should have allowed for an adjournment of the inquest so that his brother could attend. There were errors in that decision and he quashed the verdict of the inquest and ordered a fresh one.

hnews@herald.ie

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