Don't be influenced by emotion, judge tells Moonlight jury
The jury in the trial of a farmer charged with murdering his alleged love rival has been told that it must not by influenced by "emotion, sympathy, anger or disgust".
Ms Justice Eileen Creedon yesterday addressed the Central Criminal Court jury before it began its deliberations, which will resume this morning.
Patrick Quirke (50), of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bobby Ryan, a part-time DJ going by the name Mr Moonlight.
Mr Ryan went missing on June 3, 2011, after leaving his girlfriend Mary Lowry's home.
His body was found in an underground run-off tank on the farm owned by Ms Lowry and leased by the accused at Fawnagown, Tipperary, 22 months later in April 2013.
The prosecution claims that Mr Quirke murdered Mr Ryan so he could rekindle an affair with Ms Lowry (52).
The jury begun its deliberations shortly after 2pm and retired just after 4pm.
A short time after it was sent out, the jury sought all of Mr Quirke's interviews with gardai as well as phone records, which were handed in.
In her charge to jurors earlier, Ms Justice Creedon said their verdict must be unanimous until circumstances arose that could allow a majority verdict to be returned by 10 of them.
She said the first rule for the jury was the presumption of innocence, which Mr Quirke enjoyed right until the end.
She added that the onus of proof remained fairly and squarely on the prosecution.
The judge said an accused does not have to give evidence, and that a jury must not hold that against an accused.
She said the jurors were entitled to consider the impression a witness makes on them.
Ms Justice Creedon added that the prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence to prove Mr Quirke's guilt, and that it was its case that various circumstances taken together led to the sure conclusion that the farmer committed the crime.
She said it was the prosecution's case that Mr Ryan was violently assaulted after he left Ms Lowry's house and was then placed into the tank by Mr Quirke.
She said the prosecution contended that the discovery of Mr Ryan's body by Mr Quirke was "staged" because "he knew where the body was".
The judge warned the jury that circumstantial evidence can be powerful but it must be treated with care.
She said the defence contended that much of the background evidence was unreliable and insufficient to prove Mr Quirke's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and that it must acquit.