Saturday 21 October 2017

Social worker says murder accused told her 'it would be easy if he wanted to kill Anna', court hears

Vesel Jahiri, left, and Anna Finnegan, right. Photo: Collins
Vesel Jahiri, left, and Anna Finnegan, right. Photo: Collins

Alison O'Riordan

A man accused of murdering his former partner and mother of their two children tape-recorded his meeting with a social worker on the date of the alleged attack, his trial has heard.

A transcript of Vesel Jahiri’s audio recording was read to a Central Criminal Court jury today in the seventh week of the 35-year-old’s trial.

Mr Jahiri, 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.

Mr Jahiri previously dismissed his legal team and was representing himself at the trial.

Last week, Mr Justice Paul Coffey “very reluctantly” excluded Mr Jahiri from his own trial. The judge said this was “a very unusual situation” but the accused’s man’s right to be present at his trial was not “an absolute right” and he had to be willing to abide by procedure.

Prosecution counsel Mr Patrick Marrinan SC told the jury that Karen Byrne, a social worker from The Wellman Clinic, attended a meeting with Anna Finnegan and the accused on September 21. Mr Marrinan said the court had excused Ms Byrne’s attendance from this trial but Mr Jahiri was “eager” for the jury to hear her evidence from the previous trial.

Mr Marrinan said the significance of Ms Byrne's evidence was that she had made a statement to gardai and "attributed certain comments to the accused" during the course of their meeting. "Mr Jahiri, unknown to Ms Byrne, had audio taped that meeting from beginning to end,” he said.

The prosecution then read a transcript of Ms Byrne’s evidence from the previous trial. The court heard that Ms Byrne gave her direct evidence in the previous trial to Mr Marrinan commencing on May 7, 2014. Ms Byrne told Mr Marrinan that she was allocated as a social worker for Anna Finnegan’s and Vesel Jahiri’s two children on September 6, 2012.

Ms Byrne agreed with the prosecution that she had received a call from Bray Women’s Refuge and Anna Finnegan arrived at The Wellman Centre on September 6 to speak to her. Ms Byrne said that the referral came about as a result of a domestic abuse concern. Ms Byrne agreed with the prosecution that part of the plan in place was that Vesel Jahiri should not go to Allendale Glen.

Ms Byrne said in her evidence that Mr Jahiri told her in a conversation on September 21 that “it would be easy if he wanted to kill Anna” but he would not do that as he loved her.

In cross-examination Mr Jahiri's then defence counsel, Mr Brendan Grehan SC, put it to Ms Byrne that Mr Jahiri had a recording device in his pocket on September 21, had recorded their entire conversation and that there was no reference on this recording to Mr Jahiri making a threat to kill Anna. Ms Byrne said Mr Jahiri had “one hundred percent” said this to her even though it had not appeared on the tape recording. Ms Byrne told the barrister that she believed the tape had been “doctored” in some way saying: “There are pieces missing off that tape.”

A transcript of Vesel Jahiri’s audio recording was then read to the jury.

Opening the prosecution case to a jury five weeks ago, Mr Marrinan said that Mr Jahiri and Anna Finnegan were in a relationship for about ten years and had two children together. However, their relationship “turned sour” prior to September 2012 and they ended up separating. It is alleged that Mr Jahiri stabbed Ms Finnegan to death after he “battered” down her front door and attacked her and her brother.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Coffey and a jury of nine men and two women.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News