Sunday 23 October 2016

Prosecution tells murder trial jury it can be 'satisfied beyond reasonable doubt the accused murdered 49-year-old man'

Alison O'Riordan

Published 15/01/2016 | 18:40

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A prosecution counsel has told a murder trial jury that after hearing all "the circumstances and evidence" in the case, they can be "satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt" the accused murdered the deceased in a Kildare town over two years ago.

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Seamus Morgan (49) with an address at The Hollands, Athy, Co Kildare is charged with murdering Laurence Keane (56) in the town on July 19 2013.

On Monday at the Central Criminal Court Mr Morgan pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Keane.

This morning prosecution counsel Ms Orla Crowe BL began her closing speech. She told the court that this case involved Laurence Keane dying "in a small town in Co Kildare where it would appear everyone from the town knew" himself and Mr Morgan.

Addressing the jury, she said they would have to establish that there was an unlawful killing by the accused and he intended to kill or

cause a serious injury at the time to the deceased.

"Murder does not always involve pre medication and planning, a murder can be committed on the spur of the moment," said Ms Crowe.

The court heard it was not in contest that Seamus Morgan and Laurence Keane were out in the town of Athy and  it was also known that the two men "made their way up a lane-way" on the night of July 18 2013.

"We have admissions from Seamus Morgan that he was on a lane-way with Laurence Keane where he was seen by a number of witnesses," she said.

Counsel said there was also evidence given by Mr Jamie Flynn Quinn of making his way up the lane-way and seeing the body of the deceased on the ground before making a 999 call.

"It is the case that Laurence Keane died as a result of the injuries inflicted upon him on the lane-way that night. There is the post mortem evidence of Dr Michael Curtis who said the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. Of particular significance is Dr Curtis saying there were ten significant blows to the head of Mr Keane, consider that in the light of intent to kill or cause serious injury," she said.

The barrister said the "central part" of the case relates to the evidence of Nathan Robinson and Ricky Moriarty who were cycling around the town on the night.

Counsel said Nathan Robinson said he "saw a bit of a scuffle at the top of the hill between the accused and deceased, both who he knew."

"Nathan Robinson remained steadfast in his evidence of what he saw, seeing the accused bent over Mr Keane and swinging three times," said Ms Crowe.

Counsel said the evidence of Ricky Moriarty also "remained steadfast" when he said his final statement was the truth and that he had seen a scuffle with the accused beating the injured party with a stick or a bar.

"He couldn’t say what it was. You can rely upon that evidence in the case in hand," she said.

In conclusion Ms Crowe told the court that "ultimately they had the admission of what Mr Morgan said at time of interview" where he "denied killing Laurence Keane and said their differences had been settled."

Counsel said a "very notable feature of the case" was that Seamus Morgan was present in the lane way with Laurence Keane.

"With all the circumstances and all the evidence there, I think you can be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Seamus Morgan murdered Laurence Keane on the night in question and I would urge you to return a verdict of guilty," she said.

Defence counsel Mr Sean Gillane then addressed the jury, describing how to them Mr Morgan may be "a nobody" who is "just part of life's driftwood."

Counsel appealed to the jury to deal with the case "properly" and approach it on the basis of what they would expect twelve strangers "discussing the fate of someone" they knew and loved.

"If you approach the case with that care you won't go wrong," he said.

With regards to witness Nathan Robinson who gave evidence on Wednesday of seeing "a bit of a scuffle at the top of the hill at St John's Lane", counsel asked the jury to think of the "bare face lies" he told them on the stand and how he was "prepared to lie if he could get away with it."

"The problem with lies are when you stitch in some detail they just look like the truth. When one steps outside the now accepted lies of Mr Robinson, what he says lacks any credibility at all," he said.

"He says he can see over and through things, it’s a nonsense and it’s a nonsense which is a product of discussing this with (his friend) Ricky. Why is it in 2014 that he brings light into it, he needs to be believed," said counsel.

Mr Gillane said the jury could not convict anyone on the evidence of Nathan Robinson and his friend Ricky Moriarty as "they have never played straight."

The barrister told the court that the prosecution were telling the jury that "in under two and a half minutes Mr Morgan and Mr Keane had reached the bollards, an argument had developed, Mr Keane had been killed and he had returned to Woodstock Street at 23.28."

Counsel asked the jury to concentrate "on the dog that doesn't bark as much as the dog that does."

"Ms Kaye encounters Mr Morgan and notices nothing unusual about him, Ms Noelle Tyrell described him as perfectly normal, a guard says there was nothing about him that specifically draws his attention to him.

The chip shop owner sees him and not only is there nothing unusual but every single aspect of it seems to be actual routine," said counsel.

He added that the prosecution "nearly suggested" the fact that a weapon was not found at Mr Morgan's home was "evidence probative of guilt" which "just makes no sense."

"I ask you to look at the observable, provable and scientific evidence and return an appropriate verdict in this case of not guilty," he concluded.

Mr Justice Robert Eagar said he will continue his charge to the jury on Monday.

The trial continues.

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