herald

Sunday 19 November 2017

Coma victim ‘killed by shotgun injuries’

MEDICAL evidence proved gunshot injuries caused the death of a man who died of pneumonia more than two years after he was shot, a jury heard today.

Prosecution lawyer Denis Vaughan Buckley said there was "ample medical evidence" that shooting victim Ian Kenny died of a severe brain injury which had led to bronchial pneumonia that resulted in his death.

The jury in the Central Criminal Court heard the summing up speeches of both sides in the trial in which Jonathan Dunne (26), of Windmill Park, Crumlin, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to murder.

Kenny was hit with two shotgun blasts at close range but survived for two years and one month in a persistent vegetative state.

Dunne pleaded not guilty to murdering Kenny at Lakelands Road, Stillorgan. Kenny was shot in a car on July 4, 2007 and died on July 31, 2009.

Dunne pleaded guilty to his attempted murder at an earlier trial and is serving 12 years in prison.

The jury was told the principle issue in the case was what caused his death.

Mr Vaughan Buckley today recounted the details of Mr Kenny’s final days in Beaumont Hospital. He was in a vegetative state and had severe lung infections and his father agreed that it was no longer appropriate that he undergo resuscitation. He died on July 31, 2009.

Defence lawyer Brendan Grehan said Dunne had admitted attempting to kill Kenny, a good friend, and was paying the price in prison for what he did. The prosecution had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Dunne was guilty of murder and the jury must coldly examine the medical evidence, he said.

Irish courts, unlike Scottish courts, do not allow juries to bring in a verdict of "not proven" and therefore the verdict must be not guilty, said Mr Grehan.

The court did not allow a defence of "duress" in murder trials.

When Dunne was arrested less than a mile from the scene of the shooting, he was "panting, sweating and covered in the blood of the deceased."

He told gardai it was "him or me" and had declared, "I was doing a favour that I had to repay. I can’t tell you why, I just had to".

Mr Grehan said Irish laws were changed in 1999 when a long established rule that if a victim died a year and a day after an attack, the attacker could not be prosecuted for murder. But the removal of this rule did not mean that juries could make automatic assumptions.

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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