Sunday 4 December 2016

Judge tells jury to consider whether man accused of murder lost self control

Eoin Reynolds

Published 23/11/2016 | 18:23

Donal Colgan and inset David Sheridan
Donal Colgan and inset David Sheridan

A 65-year-old should be convicted of manslaughter and not murder if a jury believes he had lost self control when he stabbed a man outside a chip shop, a judge at the Central Criminal Court has said.

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Donal Colgan of Killarney Court, Killarney St, Dublin 1 has pleaded not guilty to the murder of David Sheridan (45), outside Luigi's chip shop on the Capital's North Strand Road on August 17/18 2014.

Justice Carmel Stewart on Wednesday charged the jury of nine men and three women, telling them the prosecution must prove its case "beyond reasonable doubt". She said the accused man has admitted to stabbing Mr Sheridan and the defence accepts that the killing was unlawful.

She added: "He says he was attacked by Mr Sheridan and that is why he did what he did and you will have to assess that in the light of all the evidence." Going over Mr Colgan's evidence, she said he told them he "lost it" and that he had no intention of using the knife until he was attacked by Mr Sheridan.

David Sheridan
David Sheridan

She explained that the defence of provocation comes into play when there is a "sudden unforeseen onset of passion that, for a moment, deprives the accused of all self control."

She said they should also consider whether Mr Colgan acted in self-defence. If they believe he thought he was defending himself but that the force he used was more than what was necessary, they should return a manslaughter verdict. She told the jury to assess Mr Colgan's actions based on their knowledge of his background and how he would have reacted in the situation in which he found himself.

She added that Mr Colgan cannot rely on self defence if the jury believes that he "created the situation that gives rise to the need to use force".

If the prosecution has proven that he did not lose control, was not defending himself and that he intended to kill Mr Sheridan, they should find him guilty of murder.

The jury spent 90 minutes considering their verdict today and will return tomorrow. Justice Stewart told the jurors not to discuss their deliberations with anyone.

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