Judge tells jury to 'put murder accused punching barrister in face out of minds' as they begin deliberations
A judge has told a trial jury that they must put the fact a murder accused punched the prosecuting barrister in the face out of their minds when considering their verdict.
Last Friday as the trial was reaching its closing stages, accused man Vesel Jahiri punched prosecuting barrister Mr Patrick Marrinan SC in the face. The accused then leapt across the court benches before he was wrestled to the ground by five prison officers.
Mr Justice Paul Coffey later told the jury that the accused had been removed from the court and he then proceeded to charge the jury in his absence.
Mr Jahiri (35), originally from Kosovo but of no fixed abode, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Anna Finnegan (25) at Allendale Glen, Clonsilla, Dublin 15 on September 21, 2012.
He has also pleaded not guilty to assaulting Karl Finnegan, causing him harm, at the same place on the same date.
Concluding his charge to the jury today Mr Justice Coffey said that it is the prosecution's case that Mr Jahiri murdered Anna Finnegan and assaulted Karl Finnegan at Allendale Glen on September 21. He said the accused alleged that there were two knives at the scene which the prosecution invited the jury to reject.
The judge said the prosecution case was primarily advanced by Karl Finnegan's evidence. He also said the prosecution placed particular emphasis on the evidence given by Korill Allen. Mr Allen, a security officer attached to James Connolly Memorial Hospital, told the jury that he was in the process of lifting Anna Finnegan from the ground onto a trolley when she pointed at the accused and said: “He did it.”
Mr Justice Coffey said the jury must “put out of” their mind what occurred in court last Friday as it had no evidential value in the case.
He said the accused's case is that he did not stab Anna Finnegan and was not guilty of murder. The judge said there were three verdicts the jury could return, namely; guilty of murder, not guilty of murder or not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.
The judge said it is Mr Jahiri's case that he stabbed Karl Finnegan in self-defence and is not guilty of assault causing harm. He said it is Mr Jahiri's case that he did not have a knife when he entered Allendale Glen and although he did not see it happen, Karl Finnegan must have accidentally stabbed Anna Finnegan when she intervened in the tussle between them.
If he was acting in self-defence and used no more force than was necessary, they should find him not guilty. If the prosecution has proven that he intended to cause harm and was not acting in self-defence they should find him guilty.
The judge said the jury's “real battle” would be establishing who was the aggressor in the case and how many knives were at the scene.
“It is for you to decide what issues are relevant and what evidence you accept and reject,” he said. The judge said it may assist the jury to go about their task by putting to one side the facts that are not in dispute in the case.
Mr Justice Coffey told the jury of eight men and two women that they must be unanimous in their decision in respect of both counts.
The jury were sent out to begin their deliberations at 2.10pm.