Thursday 29 September 2016

Judge refuses to allow man to withdraw guilty plea in murder of 'mentally challenged' man found beaten to death

Alison O'Riordan

Published 25/04/2016 | 14:03

Kenneth Cummins
Kenneth Cummins

A judge has refused to allow a man withdraw his guilty plea to the murder of a "mentally challenged" 63-year-old man who was beaten to death.

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Kenneth Cummins (28) of Ringsend Park in Dublin had denied murdering Thomas Horan (63) at Cambridge Court, Ringsend on January 6, 2014.

A post-mortem examination showed that the deceased had head, neck and chest injuries consistent with a severe beating.

Mr Cummins and his sister Sabrina Cummins went on trial last year but, several weeks in to the trial, Kenneth Cummins changed his plea to guilty.

His sister was handed down a life sentence for the murder of Thomas Horan a week later, by which time her brother was applying to vacate his guilty plea.

At the time prosecution counsel Mr Remy Farrell SC said this application was "breath taking" and no more than "a stroke" by Mr Cummins.

On March 16 Kenneth Cummin's barrister, Pauline Walley SC, told Mr Justice Hunt that it was a legal issue as to whether the plea should have been taken on the afternoon of November 11 or put off to the next morning.

She noted that the judge was already charging the jury when her client had changed his plea and that his legal team had informed him that a manslaughter verdict was a possibility.

However, contrary to legal advice, Mr Cummins had said that he ‘wanted to get it over with and get out of here’.

She said that Mr Cummins had been complaining of panic attacks, stress and a lack of medical attention at the time and that this was known to the court.

Today Mr Justice Hunt told the court he got "averted from finishing the reasons in this case" but he was refusing the application.

"I will give detailed reasons on the next occasion," said the judge.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt remanded Mr Cummins in custody until he is sentenced on May 12.

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