Central Criminal Court, Dublin
A jury in the trial of a man, charged with murdering a 20-year-old with one blow of a baseball bat, has been sent home for the night after a third day of deliberations.
Zoltan Almasi (49), a Serbian man with an address at Harbour View, Naas, Co. Kildare, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Athy man Joseph Dunne, but guilty to his manslaughter at Harbour View on May 16 2014.
The Central Criminal Court has heard that Mr Dunne died after receiving a blow to the back of his head, shattering his skull and driving the bone in towards the brain.
The trial heard that Mr Dunne had banged on Mr Almasi’s van, which was parked outside his home. The truck driver then chased Mr Dunne away with a baseball bat. He says that he didn’t realise that he had struck him with the bat until he later saw an ambulance and garda car in the area.
Justice Michael White sent the jury out to begin considering its verdict on Monday morning, with the instruction to consider a unanimous verdict.
He called the jurors back into the courtroom yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon to say that he could now accept a majority verdict, where the majority could be at least 10.
They resumed their deliberations in their jury room today, but returned to court to ask a number of questions this afternoon. They asked for the testimony of two witnesses to be read out. These included the evidence of Donal Dockery, who was outside a restaurant on Harbour View that night.
The witness had described a ‘distraught and agitated man’ shouting at another man to ‘stop messing with my car’.
“It appeared to me from what he was saying that it had happened previously,” said Mr Dockery. “He said: ‘I’ve had enough of it’.”
The jury also asked to hear some legal definitions, including that of manslaughter.
“What we’re dealing with here, what he has pleaded guilty to, is assault manslaughter,” explained the judge. “If Mr Almasi intended to cause less than serious injury but more than trivial harm, it’s manslaughter. He’s presumed to have intended the natural and probable consequences of his conduct, but this presumption may be rebutted by the defence.”
The jury was later sent home for the night and will resume deliberations tomorrow.
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