A jury has begun deliberations in the trial of a man and woman accused of the manslaughter of a Co Leitrim student.
Andrew Dolan (20) from Carrick-on-Shannon passed away in Beaumont Hospital on January 1, 2012 from injuries sustained during an assault on Pearse Street in Mullingar on December 23, 2011.
Jessica Hughes (21) of Greenfield Heights, Rathwire, Killucan, Co Westmeath and Patrick Daly (23), Mulphedder, Clonard, Co Meath both deny his manslaughter.
A further charge of assault causing harm was withdrawn against Mr Daly by Judge Anthony Hunt following legal argument. It had related to an assault on one of Mr Dolan’s friends, Ian Farrell.
The trial heard the two accused were in Abrakebabra in Mullingar with Patrick Farrell at 2.40am. An alleged comment led to an altercation outside which ended when Mr Dolan was knocked to the ground hitting his head.
Patrick Farrell, who delivered the final blow, has already been dealt with by the courts after admitting to a manslaughter charge, jurors were told.
Judge Hunt told jurors their job wasn’t to “right wrongs” but to “return an objective verdict based on cold and clinical evidence.”
The prosecution is trying the defendants on the basis of joint enterprise. It maintains they embarked on a course of action intended to cause harm to Mr Dolan and were active participants at the time the final blow was struck, he explained.
He cited prosecution counsel Mr John Hayden SC who said Mr Dolan was “pursued” for about 30 metres while “at all times in retreat” and passive.
Mr Hayden makes the case that both accused landed blows “setting the scene for the delivery of the last blow,” he explained.
Judge Hunt said Caroline Biggs SC for Mr Daly argued that “Mr Farrell was pushed away by Mr Daly and this was by way of stopping things.”
In the case of Ms Hughes, he said Colm Smyth SC maintained his client attempted to restrain Patrick Farrell and that her involvement ended when she was pushed out of the way of the altercation.
Mr Smyth had acknowledged there was evidence of an assault on Mr Dolan by his client, but insisted there was no evidence she was complicit in manslaughter, he added.
In the case of acquittal for either or both defendants, Judge Hunt said alternative verdicts of assault or assault causing harm would be available to the jury.
The jury of seven men and five women are due to resume deliberations at Mullingar Circuit Court today.