Saturday 23 September 2017

Donal Lynch: Aggressive Zimmerman defence leaves no winners

IN THE FRAME: Irish-American attorney Mark O'Mara holds up a photo of George Zimmerman from the night of the Trayvon Martin shooting during his client's trial
IN THE FRAME: Irish-American attorney Mark O'Mara holds up a photo of George Zimmerman from the night of the Trayvon Martin shooting during his client's trial

Donal Lynch

When Mark O'Mara, who describes himself as "a good Irish Catholic boy", was growing up in Queens, New York, there were only two possibilities for betterment: "The first was to be a priest," he remembers. "The second one was to be a lawyer." O'Mara eventually took the second of these paths. After his family moved to Orlando, Florida, O'Mara studied law and soon set up his own practice specialising in family law and criminal trials. He gained some local notoriety as a commentator on the Casey Anthony trial, but it was when he began to lead George Zimmerman's defence team that O'Mara really vaulted to national fame.

In February last year Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watch co-ordinator, had followed and shot dead a black teenager, Trayvon Martin, in what he claimed was self defence, but what many observers felt was a racially motivated attack on an unarmed child, who had been buying sweets moments before.

Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter and the case was elevated to a cause celebre, with Barack Obama fanning the flames by saying, "if I had a son he would look like Trayvon".

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Don't Miss