Gun-wielding teenager guilty of manslaughter
A TEENAGER was last night found guilty of the man-slaughter of a man shot after confronting a group of youths who threw eggs at his house.
It emerged yesterday that Conor Duffy (18) had offered two years ago to plead guilty to the manslaughter of Aidan O'Kane, but that was not accepted by the DPP.
Duffy, of St Mary's Road, East Wall, Dublin, had denied the murder of Mr O'Kane at a laneway off Bargy Road in the area on December 7, 2008.
Mr O'Kane was shot dead when he gave chase to a group of teenagers who had been throwing eggs at his house.
Duffy was also found unanimously guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition and having a firearm without a licence.
The majority manslaughter verdict was reached after deliberations of two hours and 21 minutes.
As the verdict was read out at the Central Criminal Court, Duffy did not react but his mother wiped away tears and his father rushed afterwards to talk to his son, who gave him a small smile.
Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan told the court that he was conscious that Duffy was still a relatively young man and he was aware that a recent report had found that Irish prisons, including St Patrick's Institution, were "not fit for purpose" in providing rehabilitation.
However, he said he could not rule out a jail term at this stage but that he would allow him to remain on bail and put the matter of sentencing back for four weeks.
Duffy was remanded on continuing bail and is required to sign on daily, with a curfew restriction until the sentence hearing on April 5.
His barrister Sean Gillane told the court that his client was receiving medical attention and was due to have stitches removed from his foot today.
The defendant had limped into courtroom yesterday on crutches, his right foot in a cast.
Just two rows away, his parents and sister sat with folded arms, anxiously awaiting the end of the closing statements, knowing that in just a few moments, the jury would be retiring to begin its deliberations.
Summing up, the prosecution told the jury that there were sufficient grounds for finding the defendant guilty of murder and claimed it had not been an act of impulse.
In his closing statement, Paul Burns, for the prosecution, said Duffy had used "excessive and unnecessary force" against Mr O'Kane. There had been no justification for the taking of Aidan O'Kane's life, he added.
Duffy had deliberately gone off to get a loaded revolver and intended to use it. He had pulled the trigger and exerted the necessary force.
In an impassioned closing speech yesterday, Mr Gillane said the "motif" of this case has been that Mr O'Kane was slain by a "feral youth".
"It wasn't so," he said.
Mr O'Kane had been dressed in a balaclava, leather jacket, gloves and was armed with a baton.
He had intimated that he had a firearm and was saying: "I'll blast yiz."
"Everyone thought Aidan O'Kane had a gun and was prepared to use it," he said.
Mr Gillane said this incident had not taken place over "tea and sandwiches" in the lobby of a fine hotel.
Instead he invited the jury to "place their minds down the quays, past gleaming offices" into Bargy Road and into "the world of Conor Duffy and Aidan O'Kane".
Mr Gillane also reminded the jury that his client was "a child in law" at the time of the incident.