Prosecution begins closing speech in trial of Kildare man accused of hindering murder investigation

Trial of Paul Wells Jr is ongoing before the Central Criminal Court

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Prosecution begins closing speech in trial of Kildare man accused of hindering murder investigation

Central Criminal Court

A man on trial knew what he did when he disposed of a chainsaw used to dismember the body of Kenneth O'Brien and fully understood the consequences of his actions, a prosecution barrister has told a jury at the Central Criminal Court. 

The court also heard that while this was a "harrowing tale of childhood trauma" and "an abuse of family relationships", sympathy could not form part of the jury's determination in the case.

Michael Bowman SC, prosecuting, today, Tuesday, November 19, gave his closing speech in the trial of Paul Wells Junior (33), who is charged with impeding the apprehension or prosecution of his father Paul Wells Senior (51) by disposing of a chainsaw nearly four years ago. The prosecution allege the accused did so knowing that his father had taken a life.

Mr Wells Junior, with an address at Beatty Park, Celbridge, Co Kildare has pleaded not guilty to disposing of a chainsaw motor at a time unknown between January 19 and 20, 2016 in Co Kildare and not guilty to disposing of a chainsaw blade and chain on January 20, 2016, in the same location.

Addressing the jury today, Mr Bowman said this was an emotive case which evoked one’s natural sympathies as it told a "harrowing tale of childhood trauma" and "an abuse of family relationships". However, the barrister told the jury that sympathy could not form part of their determination in the case.

Mr Wells Jnr is an inherently decent man as well as a family man, who had a difficult background and upbringing, remarked Mr Bowman. 

However, the barrister argued that the accused knew what he did on January 19 and 20 and fully understood the consequences of his actions. “Intention can be formed in a split second, as quickly as it takes someone to throw something into a canal, pond or bush,” he indicated, adding that one can revisit their decision instantly but the dye had already been cast.

Furthermore, Mr Bowman said that while it was to Mr Wells Jnr’s credit that he made a voluntary statement to gardai at Leixlip Garda Station on February 5, this was a mitigating factor in the case as he could not undo what had been done, namely that he believed the chainsaw was used as a weapon to hurt Mr O'Brien. 

In addition, Mr Bowman acknowledged that while it also stands to Mr Wells Jnr's credit that he stayed in Leixlip garda station for three days and provided 14 interviews, this did not “wash away his initial actions” and the accused knew this to be the case.

The lawyer told the jurors that Mr Wells Jnr neglected to inform gardai about the most incriminating elements of his behaviour because he knew it was not in his interest. “To tell the whole truth would confirm he was guilty of the offence charged,” he added.

Counsel said the truth of the situation was that the defendant regretted what he had done and had sought to “right that wrong”, something he could not then do.

Mr Wells Jnr disposed of the chainsaw, its motor and blade because he knew Wells Snr had used it to murder Mr O’Brien, emphasised the lawyer. 

Mr Bowman will continue giving his closing speech to the jury this afternoon.

Wells Snr, of Barnamore Park, Finglas in Dublin 11 was last year found guilty of murdering Mr O'Brien at his home in Finglas on January 15 or 16, 2016. The killer admitted that, after shooting the 33-year-old father in his back garden, he dismembered his body with a chainsaw and dumped it in a suitcase in the Grand Canal.