Wednesday 28 September 2016

Man granted adjournment until next year for 'breath-taking' application to withdraw guilty murder plea

Alison O'Riordan

Published 30/11/2015 | 14:01

Kenneth Cummins
Kenneth Cummins
Kenneth Cummins
Sabrina Cummins

A Dublin man has been granted an adjournment until next year for a "breath-taking" application to withdraw his guilty plea for murdering a "mentally challenged" 63-year-old man.

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Kenneth Cummins (28) with an address at Ringsend Park, Dublin 4, pleaded not guilty to murdering Thomas Horan (63) at Cambridge Court, Ringsend on January 6, 2014 but four weeks into his Central Criminal Court trial he changed his plea to guilty.

On November 20 Mr Giollaiosa O Lideadha SC told Mr Justice Tony Hunt he had been instructed to have his client's plea of guilty vacated on the grounds that he was not in a fit state to make the plea on November 11.

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

Mr Cummins' sister Sabrina Cummins was handed down a life sentence for the murder of Thomas Horan on November 20.

This morning Mr O Lideadha asked for an adjournment for his clients application in connection to withdrawing his guilty plea from December 7 until next year.

Counsel said that a psychiatrist engaged by the defence had advised that if his client was suffering from panic attacks at the time the plea was entered, this could be relevant to the question of whether he was fit to plead at the time and asked for a date not before the middle of January.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said he had "reservations" regarding the application and it was a "bit much" however the judge acknowledged that counsel was acting in accordance with his professional obligations at all times, including when counsel sought to delay the entry of the plea on November 11 due to his concerns about the capacity of Mr Cummins to make a rational decision.

"I don't regard this as having a degree of urgency and courts are here to deal with applications," said the judge.

Mr Justice Hunt then said he would put the application for Kenneth Cummins, who was not present in court today, in for February 1 next year.

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