Sunday 25 September 2016

Man found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter of David Spain

Anne Sharkey

Published 31/07/2015 | 20:12

Gardai at the scene of the death on Rathsallagh Park, Shankill, Co Dublin. Inset: Victim David Spain
Gardai at the scene of the death on Rathsallagh Park, Shankill, Co Dublin. Inset: Victim David Spain

A Dublin man has been found not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of a man in Shankill in 2013.

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Wayne Kennedy (34) with an address at Rathsallagh Park in Shankill, Co Dublin, was charged with murdering David Spain on December 26th, 2013, at this address as well as intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Sean Turner on the same date.

Last week at the Central Criminal Court, Mr Kennedy pleaded not guilty to both counts.

Mr Kennedy was today found not guilty of the second count to intentionally or recklessly cause serious harm to Sean Turner on the same date.

The jury of 10 men and two women returned a majority verdict of not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter by 11 to one after four hours 48 minutes deliberating.

The verdict of not guilty to intentionally or recklessly cause harm was unanimous.

It was the State's case that at 4.45am on the morning of Stephen's Day 2013, Mr Kennedy, who had been out the previous evening, sent a text message to Sean Turner which said: "Enough is enough - you owe me 50 quid for months now. I don't want to fall out with you but you're taking the piss now".

Counsel for the prosecution, Paddy McCarthy SC told the jury in his opening speech that Mr Turner, who is a professional boxer, met Wayne Kennedy in a green area at the front of Rathsallagh Park for a "straightener or a fight".

The jury heard that Mr Turner came out of his friend David Spain's house, where he had been at a party, to meet Mr Kennedy who had brought a knife with him.

Mr McCarthy said that Mr Spain wasn't as well known to Mr Kennedy and that the deceased was back from Australia for Christmas and was celebrating in his house at the time.

The court heard that Sean Turner received two knife wounds, which were "potentially fatal".

The jury heard that Mr Turner ran back in the direction of the deceased's house shouting that he had been stabbed.

It was the State's case that Mr Spain ran after Wayne Kennedy and a fight pursued. Mr McCarthy said that the deceased threw a number of punches at Wayne Kennedy who had a knife in his right hand and stabbed the deceased six times.

The jury heard that David Spain was taken to St Vincent's Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

At 5.34am, Wayne Kennedy sent a message to his friend on Facebook saying: "Please ring, I just murdered someone".

Counsel for the defence, Remy Farrell SC reminded the jury in his closing speech that Sean Turner was the first person to mention a fight by text message.

He said that when Wayne Kennedy went to meet Sean Turner, he saw that there was not one man but three: "This was an ambush".

"Look at the CCTV. You will see Wayne Kennedy moving backwards from start to finish - this isn't somebody who is intent on using a knife at all costs."

Mr Farrell asked the jury to consider self-defence when watching CCTV footage pointing out that Wayne Kennedy could be seen moving backwards from start to finish.

He suggested they ask who the aggressor was: Wayne Kennedy or David Spain.

State Pathologist Marie Cassidy gave evidence that she found a stab wound to the left side of his neck, a stab wound below the left armpit, a stab wound to the right side of the abdomen, a stab wound to the left lateral abdominal wall, a stab wound above the left side of the pelvis which exited his back and a stab wound to his left arm.

The jury were told that apart from the trauma to David Spain's major organs, that he lost a considerable amount of blood from his injuries.

Professor Cassidy determined that the cause of death were the stab wounds to the deceased's chest and abdomen.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy thanked the jury exempting them from jury service for ten years.

He remanded Wayne Kennedy in custody to be sentenced on November 23rd of this year.

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