Wednesday 22 October 2014

Knives found at scene were not forensically examined, murder trial hears

Ruaidhrí Giblin

Published 05/06/2014 | 18:34

Vezel Jahiri

A murder trial has heard that two knives found at the scene were not forensically examined despite claims by the accused that more than one knife was involved in the fatal incident.

Vesel Jahiri, of Louth Village, Dundalk but originally from Kosovo, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Anna Finnegan at Allendale Glen, Clonsilla, Dublin 15 on September 21 2012.

Mr Jahiri has also pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm on Anna Finnegan's brother, Karl, on the same date.

The Central Criminal Court has heard how Ms Finnegan and Mr Jahiri had been in a ten year relationship that had “deteriorated dramatically”. They had two young children together and “access had become more than a thorny subject”.

Karl Finnegan has given evidence that having put the children to bed upstairs, Anna and he were having tea in her kitchen when Mr Jahiri allegedly burst through the door and came bounding down the hallway with a knife in his hand.

An altercation took place, the court heard, in which Mr Finnegan was stabbed in the chest and head while Anna Finnegan fled in distress, screaming. She ran outside to get help from a neighbour but collapsed on the roadside shortly afterwards.

Mr Jahiri claims Karl Finnegan produced the knives and Anna was fatally injured while trying to stop her brother from stabbing him.

Today Dr Hilary Clarke of the garda technical bureau, told the court that Anna Finnegan's DNA was obtained from a blood stain on the tip of a knife exhibited in the trial as the knife which fatally wounded her.

There was some damage to the knife, Ms Clarke said. The blade was slightly bent and a small piece was broken off from the tip.

She said there were numerous blood stains in the house and driveway as well as in the driveway of the house next door but all blood examined at the scene appeared to belong to Karl Finnegan.

Under cross examination from defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC, investigating Detective Garda James O'Hora, confirmed that two knives found in Anna Finnegan's kitchen sink were not subjected to any fingerprint or forensic analyses.

When asked if he had told Ms Clarke, of the garda technical bureau, that Mr Jahiri was maintaining that there were two knives involved in the incident, the detective said he didn't brief her on the circumstances.

When asked why it appeared to be the case that each investigating garda didn't date their statements, Det O'Hora said he would not call it a coincidence.

He said it wasn't his practice at the time to date statements but he would certainly do so from now on.

On Wednesday the court heard from Detective Garda James Cunningham, from the fingerprints section, who said he examined the knife on which Anna Finnegan's blood was found

Det Cunningham said he had no doubt that a fingerprint on the blade of the knife was made by Mr Jahiri's left forefinger but there was nothing at all on the handle, not even a smudge.

Giving evidence, Det O'Hora said the knife on which Anna Finnegan's blood was found was brought by the accused to Cabra garda station when he was first arrested. It had been held under lock and key at all times ever since and had been available to the defence for inspection, the detective said.

Arising from this evidence, Mr Grehan said there was was no way the gardaí would allow an item such as that to go out of their possession until they conducted their own examinations.

“I have to put it to you,” Mr Grehan said to the detective, “that you must have wiped the handle clean” of any fingerprints "including those of Karl Finnegan".

Detective O'Hora said “no judge that's not correct nobody interfered with the knife while it was in my possession.”

The case resumes on June 19 before a jury of six men and four women with Mr Justice Paul McDermott presiding.

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