Guilty of manslaughter for a second time in his life
A man has been convicted of manslaughter for a second time after pleading guilty to killing his father after an All-Ireland final.
David Fortune (33) will be sentenced next February after admitting to the unlawful killing of his father, Gerry Fortune, at his Crumlin home two years ago.
He had been on trial for murder, but the court was told yesterday that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was accepting a plea of manslaughter.
It is the second time that David Fortune, also known as David O'Leary, has been convicted of killing.
He was sentenced in 2006 to 12 years for manslaughter after fatally stabbing Michael Murphy 14 times.
Fortune was only 17 when he stabbed the 31-year-old repeatedly in the head, neck and chest outside the Buddha Bar in Blanchardstown on Halloween night 2004.
Fortune, of Rutland Grove, Crumlin, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of his father on August 19, 2018 when the trial began at the Central Criminal Court last week.
Sources said the DPP had previously rejected his pleading guilty to manslaughter and opted to put him on trial for murder.
At the start of the fifth day of the trial yesterday, Fortune was rearraigned following legal discussions between the parties.
When charged with the count of his father's murder, Fortune replied: "Not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter."
Counsel for the prosecution, Seán Gillane, told the trial judge, Ms Justice Eileen Creedon, that such a plea was acceptable to the DPP.
The jury of eight women and four men were then discharged.
The trial had originally been scheduled to last three weeks.
Judge Creedon ordered a probation report on Fortune to be prepared in advance of a sentence hearing on February 26.
The court heard victim impact statements will also be heard on that date.
Fortune was remanded in custody until the sentencing date.
During the trial, the jury heard that Gerry Fortune (62), who worked in St James's Hospital, was stabbed in the neck in his family home by his son after watching the All-Ireland hurling final in his living room.
Mr Gillane outlined how the accused and a number of other people were in a granny flat at the rear of the house for "a day of drinking and drug-taking" on the day of the fatal assault.
Counsel said some of those attending had described the accused as behaving in a paranoid way before he went into the house following a row with his half-brother, Gerard Lambe, who denied putting black-market diazepam tablets in the acc-used's mouth earlier in the day.
However, Mr Lambe admitted he had given the accused the tablets.
Witness Eddie Byrne told the trial he saw Mr Lambe physic- ally putting a "big blue tablet" into the accused man's mouth on the day before the stabbing.
He told Michael Bowman, defending, that Mr Lambe had given it to him to calm him down.
"He said, 'Here, try that'," Mr Byrne testified while gesturing with his outstretched hand.
"He didn't ask for it," he said of the accused, who he thought did not know what he was taking.
"Are you saying that Gerard physically put it in his mouth?" Mr Bowman asked.
"Yeah," replied the witness.
Fortune's half-sister, Laura Lambe, gave evidence that the accused had been hallucinating just before the stabbing after taking a number of tablets.
"On and off, David was getting paranoid and he was arguing," she recalled.
Ms Lambe said her father had called the accused into the house for dinner and to try to calm him down.
She told the court she heard her father scream at Gerard to get out of the room before David hit him.
Ms Lambe broke down in tears as she recounted how the accused was shouting at her father, "Da, I'm going to die".
Her father replied: "You're not going to die, son. Nobody is going to die today."
She claimed her half-brother was "blank" and his eyes "were black" at the time that he swung at his father with a knife before stabbing him in the neck.
The victim was rushed to hospital by ambulance but was pronounced dead a short time later.
The court heard that after the stabbing, Fortune jumped through the front window and hijacked a car on Rutland Grove and drove to Blanchardstown Hospital.
He then ran through the hospital building in a "frightened" state, wearing only one shoe.
Fortune was arrested by gardaí who were alerted after he had been given Valium by staff in the hospital's emergency department.
Several hospital staff gave evidence that Fortune claimed his father or family had been trying to stab him.
The accused's sister, Anne- Marie O'Leary, said Fortune contacted her that evening and said: "Da stabbed me."
He also asked her to call the gardaí before hanging up.
The court heard from several witnesses that the accused enjoyed a very good relationship with his father.
Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margot Bolster said a post-mortem showed the deceased had suffered an 8cm stab wound above the collarbone on the left side of his neck, which had cut through his carotid artery and jugular vein.
Dr Bolster attributed the cause of death as haemorrhage and shock due to a stab wound to the neck.