Tuesday 18 September 2018

Heartbroken mother fears there's no justice for dead son Patrick


Elizabeth Connors (73) Mother of Paddy Connors (37)
Elizabeth Connors (73) Mother of Paddy Connors (37)
State forensic pathologist Marie Cassidy.

THE mother of a man found dead in a "pool of blood" has said she is heartbroken after a High Court ruling against a retrial of his case.

Elizabeth Connors (73) said her family now feel they will never get "justice" for her son.

The trial of Michael Furlong (37), of the Moyne, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, charged with murdering Patrick Connors (37) at the Carraig Tur apartment complex, Enniscorthy, in April 2011, collapsed in November 2013 following a dispute about former deputy state pathologist Khalid Jaber's evidence.

A "dramatic intervention" by State pathologist Marie Cassidey over evidence given in the trial by Dr Jaber has resulted in a High Court ruling yesterday prohibiting a retrial.


Mr Connors' brother Gerry (51) said the family feels the ruling has left the family with "no choice" but to seek legal advice.

Mum Elizabeth said: "I feel very let down, there are two kids left without a father, I'm left without a son.

"My children are without a brother and it's very, very sad."

"I thought we were going to get some justice, so at least we would have had something to think about, but we'll never get over it at all now," She said.

Mr Connors leaves behind two children, Chantelle (13) and Ann (7).

Gerry Connors said the family feel both "very hurt" and "let down" by the justice system.

The pathologist who carried out the post-mortem on Mr Connors, Dr Jaber, resigned in 2013 following a row with Professor Cassidy in which he wrote letters to State and professional bodies suggesting she was not sufficiently qualified to act as State pathologist.

President of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns yesterday said it must have been a shock to the DPP to learn Dr Jaber had not complied with practice and instruction in his report for the Furlong case.

The absence of that peer review came to light as a result of Prof Cassidy coincidentally being in the Central Criminal Court for another trial on same day Dr Jaber was giving evidence in the Furlong case.

Prof Cassidy heard the last few minutes of Dr Jaber's cross-examination but said what she heard "was sufficient to cause me some concern".

She wrote to the DPP's office expressing those concerns in what Mr Justice Kearns said was "a dramatic intervention", as a result of which the case was listed for retrial.

Mr Furlong's lawyers then brought High Court judicial review proceedings to prohibit a retrial.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Kearns granted the prohibition order saying the court "cannot imagine how the difficulties surrounding the pathology evidence might be addressed, let alone resolved" in a retrial.

Earlier, outlining the background to the case, Mr Justice Kearns said Dr Jaber concluded two scalp wounds on Mr Connors were caused by blunt force trauma.

Prof Cassidy later wrote to the DPP expressing concerns about Dr Jaber's evidence.

While she and Dr Jaber were in agreement that Mr Connors' injuries are more likely the result of assault, her main concern was Dr Jaber's opinion about the mechanism of death.

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