Sunday 24 September 2017

State withdraws manslaughter charge in beaten publican case

Kathleen Kenny (right) and her daughter Gillian arriving at Galway Court for the trial.
Kathleen Kenny (right) and her daughter Gillian arriving at Galway Court for the trial.
John Kenny
Marian Lingurar

Ann Healy

The trial of a Romanian man charged with the manslaughter of schoolteacher John Kenny ended abruptly when the prosecution withdrew the charge.

Marian Lingurar (37), with a former address at Orchard Court, Blackpool, Cork, had earlier denied the unlawful killing of Mr Kenny at his pub on Main Street, Oughterard, on September 25, 2011.

The prosecution entered a nolle prosequi in the manslaughter charge after accepting a plea to a lesser charge against the accused of withholding information during the garda investigation into Mr Kenny's death.

Earlier, Mr Shane Costello SC opened the prosecution case to the jury.

He said evidence in the case was circumstantial as there were no independent witnesses to the offence but it was the State's case that the accused was part of a group of people who set about robbing Mr Kenny in his pub that night.

He said the accused drove three other people from Galway to the pub and back again to Galway that night.

Amongst the people he drove was Florin Fitzpatrick - a Romanian man who became an Irish citizen through marriage - along with a juvenile and a third man, named Vasile Muntean.

"They all went there with the intention of robbing Mr Kenny. The allegation is that the accused drove these men to the premises from Galway and back. Florin was working behind the bar while the juvenile was doing security at the door. At some stage the accused drove Muntean to the pub and all four were there after the pub closed.

"Mr Kenny was beaten so severely be died from his injuries. His body was discovered the next day by his wife and daughter. He had been tied up and restrained . . . He died as a result of the beating he sustained," said Mr Costello.

"It cannot be proved who caused the death, but he was an active participant in the robbery that night.

"He actively participated in the robbery of the pub and of Mr Kenny and he is liable for the death of Mr Kenny," he added.

However, shortly afterwards, Mr Costello told Judge Rory McCabe the prosecution was not proceeding with the manslaughter charge.

Lingurar then pleaded guilty to withholding information from gardaí which would assist in the apprehension and subsequent prosecution of another person in connection with the death of Mr Kenny.

Judge McCabe discharged the jury and adjourned sentencing to April 30 to allow Mr Kenny's family time to prepare victim impact statements.

Irish Independent

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