Barmen who served fatal shots cocktail are acquitted
Published 12/05/2011 | 11:31
Two barmen charged with manslaughter after a customer downed a cocktail of shots have been found not guilty on the judge's orders.
Bar manager Gary Wright and barman Aidan Dalton had denied responsibility for the death of Graham Parish in Hayes Hotel, Thurles, Co Tipperary, on June 30 2008.
The British father of two, from Calder Terrace in Lomeshaye village near Nelson, east Lancashire, was celebrating his 26th birthday when he drank a lethal mix of at least eight shots in one glass.
Judge Thomas Teehan, at Nenagh Circuit Court, said no jury could safely bring in a verdict of guilty on either of the accused.
The jury heard statements yesterday that the accused men provided to garda following the death of the father of two, who passed away hours after celebrating his 26th birthday in the Thurles hotel with five work colleagues.
In a statement, Mr Dalton, of Kilfithmone, Borrisleigh, Co Tipperary admitted to officers that he had served the final drink to Mr Parish -- also known as Shaggy -- after being permitted to do so by his bar manager, Mr Wright.
Mr Dalton told gardai that there was Baileys, Southern Comfort, Jack Daniels and gin in the glass and that Mr Parish's friends were betting him to drink it.
The barman said the alleged victim was "fully aware" of what was in the glass.
The court heard that Mr Dalton had worked in bars for nearly 10 years prior to that and he had not served a drink like that previously.
"I asked Gary as I didn't think you could serve more than a triple," he said.
He told gardai he did not think Mr Parish was going to down the shots in one go and believed the drink was to be shared by the group.
"If I ever realised he was going to slam it, I wouldn't have served it," Mr Dalton said.
He added that he had never been trained on how to dispense spirits and was just shown how to pull a pint.
"And there you are, you are a barman," he said.
In his statement to gardai, Mr Wright, also of Kilfithmone, Borrisleigh, Co Tipperary, said he put a double vodka into the alleged victim's pint around 10.30pm as requested by his friends. He admitted that he was "a bit iffy about it", but said he "didn't see the badness in it" and said the customers were having a laugh among themselves.
He said Mr Dalton gave Mr Parish another drink with three shots in it -- a vodka, a Jagermeister and something else.
He said he observed Mr Parish when Mr Dalton asked him was it okay to put 10 shots into a glass.
"He was a tall and broad guy and looked okay. He wasn't falling around at that stage. He had eight pints and five shots at this stage," Mr Wright told officers.
"I didn't see the danger in giving him the shots," he added.
Mr Parish downed the drink in one go and later collapsed off his stool and was brought upstairs to a conference room.
The court heard that till receipts taken from the bar showed that €30 worth of shots, or eight measures of gin or vodka, were purchased in one transaction before the bar closed. There was no transaction to reflect that a triple or double spirit measure was bought prior to this.