Barmen 'had duty of care' in drinking fatality, court told
TWO barmen went on trial yesterday for the unlawful killing of a customer who died from alcohol poisoning.
Graham Parish (26) died in Hayes Hotel, Thurles, Co Tipperary on July 1, 2008 after spending the previous evening drinking heavily in the hotel bar. Prosecutors allege they had a duty of care to the victim.
Prosecuting on behalf of the State, Patrick McCarthy opened the case by telling the 12-person jury that the death was "manslaughter by gross negligence". He said the negligence involved the high likelihood of substantial injuries to the victim.
Mr McCarthy said the State claims the two accused men "were the actors" in causing the unlawful death of Graham Parish.
Judge Tom Teehan heard the employees of Hayes Hotel were charged as they "had a duty of care" to patrons in the bar who were being served alcohol.
Mr McCarthy said there was a duty owed by the bar staff to Mr Parish not to cause him or his co-drinkers a risk of substantial injury.
He said the victim died from acute alcoholic poisoning after drink was served by the barmen throughout the evening.
The jury were told it was up to them "to test" whether a likelihood of serious injury or death was to arise; through the knowledge of the barmen of how much alcohol had been consumed before eight to 10 spirits were put into a pint glass to be drunk in one go.
Mr McCarthy said the barmen were involved in an act which was negligent and caused the death of Graham Parish. He said the barman, Aidan Dalton, served the drinks and the bar manager, Gary Wright, permitted him to do so.
Mr McCarthy said both workers were involved in the dispensation of drink and the gross negligence, described as wrong and unlawful, was obvious in those circumstances to ordinary individuals.
"We must prove that there is a causative link between the accused actions of giving the drinks and the victim's death," Mr McCarthy said.
Mr Parish's parents, David and Julie, were present for yesterday's hearing as were the accused men's families.