Tuesday 17 October 2017

David Mahon trial: Attempts to portray murder accused as 'butcher' are 'wrong', jury told

David Mahon
David Mahon

Eimear Cotter

CLAIMS that murder accused David Mahon "gutted" his stepson with a knife are just " plain wrong" and "a gross exaggeration" and are an attempt by the prosecution to portray him as a "butcher" or "savage", a jury has been told.

David Mahon (45) has denied murdering 23-year-old Dean Fitzpatrick on May 26, 2013.

Mr Fitzpatrick is the brother of Amy Fitzpatrick who went missing in Spain in 2008.

The father-of-one was stabbed to death outside Mr Mahon’s apartment at Burnell Square, Northern Cross in Malahide.

Defence counsel, Sean Guerin SC, has begun his closing argument to the jury of six men and six women at the Central Criminal Court.

Mr Guerin said that if there are two ways of looking at the evidence, the more favourable account must be given to the accused unless the prosecution has proved the alternative beyond a reasonable doubt.

He told the jury that David Mahon was asked by gardai if Mr Fitzpatrick's death was his fault, and he said that it was.

"If Mr Mahon had not taken the knife out of his pocket Dean Fitzpatrick wouldn't be dead, and he has admitted that", Mr Guerin said.

"Mr Mahon has admitted that taking the knife out was a very, very stupid thing to do and had tragic consequences", he added, saying "he and Audrey will have to live with the knowledge of knowing that he was at fault."

However, the question for the jury is not whether Mr Mahon is at fault, said Mr Guerin.

The jury must decide "does Mr Mahon bear criminal responsibility for Mr Fitzpatrick's death", and the onus is on the prosecution to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt.

Mr Guerin said that taking the knife out by Mr Mahon could never be fatal and it is the defence case that it was the "deliberate movement of Dean Fitzpatrick that caused the force and not a stabbing motion by Mr Mahon".

Mr Guerin said the knife could have penetrated Mr Fitzpatrick to a depth of 14.5cm but the pathologist said it may have been as little as 12.5cm.

He said that when there's multi interpretations of the evidence then the more favourable must be given to the defendant.

Mr Guerin further said the exaggeration of the actual scientific evidence was not enough for the prosecution, who also said Mr Fitzpatrick was "gutted", was "run through with a knife".

Mr Guerin said this "flight of rhetorical fancy by the prosecution in the opening of the case" was just "plain wrong" and a "gross exaggeration".

He said it was an "exaggerated description to disgust the jury and to portray David Mahon as some kind of butcher or savage that had gutted Dean Fitzpatrick".

He said that Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis had accepted in his evidence that Mr Fitzpatrick's injury could have been "accidental self-impalement" or a deliberate stabbing.

Mr Guerin also said that Dr Curtis had "no difficulty in reconciling Mr Mahon's account of what happened with the science".

He also said that in the prosecution's closing speech, the jury was told Mr Mahon "did everything to avoid responsibility". for Mr Fitzpatrick's death.

Mr Guerin said the jury knows Mr Mahon left the scene and he threw away the knife.

However, he said Mr Mahon rang Coolock Garda Station before 9.30am the next morning and was there 20 minutes later.

Mr Guerin said Mr Mahon "gave gardai everything they wanted". He provided fingerprints and DNA, refused a solicitor and answered all the questions from gardai.

Mr Guerin is still making his closing argument to the jury.

Last Friday, the jury heard the closing argument from prosecution counsel Remy Farrell SC.

Mr Farrell told the Central Criminal Court that Mr Mahon "cooked up" a story for gardai that it had been a terrible and "wholly innocent accident".

However,  in the minutes after Mr Fitzpatrick's stabbing Mr Farrell said Mr Mahon told his friend Karl O'Toole that "Dean is dead" and "the knife went through him" and was giving "a very good impersonation of a man who has just admitted murder".

Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan is expected to begin her charge to the jury this afternoon.

Online Editors

Independent.ie Comments Facility

INM has taken the decision to remove the commenting facility on its online platform Independent.ie to minimise the legal risk to our business that arises from Ireland's draconian libel awards system.

We continue to look forward to receiving comments through direct email contact or via social media, some of which may still be featured on the website Independent.ie


Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News