Naas-based Hungarian courier jailed for life for murder of Kildare man with baseball bat appeals conviction

Appeal heard today in Dublin

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Naas-based Hungarian courier jailed for life for murder of Kildare man with baseball bat appeals conviction

The Four Courts. Picture: Tony Keane

A Hungarian national jailed for life for the murder of a 20-year-old Kildare man with a baseball bat must wait to hear the outcome of an appeal against his conviction. 

Zoltan Almasi (46) with an address at Harbour View, Naas, Co Kildare, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Joseph Dunne at his home address on May 16, 2014. It was the State's case that Mr Almasi attacked Mr Dunne with a baseball bat after the deceased had hit his white Mercedes van.

Almasi was found guilty by a majority jury verdict at the Central Criminal Court following 11 hours of deliberations and was given the mandatory life sentence by Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan on March 16, 2016.

The Central Criminal Court heard that Almasi lived alone at Harbour View and worked for a courier company. He was born in Serbia but became a Hungarian national around 2007 and came to Ireland shortly afterwards. 

Almasi moved to appeal his conviction today, Tuesday, January 16, on whether the partial defence of provocation should have been left to the jury and on the prosecution's editing of certain interviews.

His barrister, Dominic McGinn SC, said there was a link between the “loud banging” on his client's van and what happened subsequently. He said it was common case that, at the very least, Almasi was in a rage at the time and this was mentioned by the trial judge in her ruling on the issue.

Mr McGinn said the one thing of value to Almasi, his van upon which his livelihood depended, was being damaged by “drunken yobs” outside his house.

Whether that was enough to make him lose total self-control was a matter for the jury to assess, Mr McGinn submitted, and there was a concern the trial judge misdirected herself on whether there was an obligation on the defence to establish provocation.

Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice John Edwards and Mr Justice John Hedigan, said the court would reserve its judgment.