Monday 26 February 2018

Deliberations to begin as Joel trial jury hears closing arguments

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

A JURY is expected to begin its deliberations in a landmark trial today into the unlawful killing by neglect of a 59-year-old woman.

Eleanor Joel (37) and Jonathan Costen (39), who are before Wexford Circuit Criminal Court, both deny the unlawful killing of Evelyn Joel.

Evelyn Joel died in Wexford General Hospital on January 7, 2006, just days after she was removed from the upstairs bedroom of her daughter, Eleanor, and Jonathan Costen's home in Cluain Dara, Enniscorthy.

A post-mortem examination by state pathologist, Marie Cassidy, found that Evelyn Joel died from pneumonia due to blood poisoning because of infected bed sores from immobilisation caused by multiple sclerosis.

In her closing speech, Rosario Boyle SC said her client, Eleanor Joel, "did not kill her mother".

She said Evelyn Joel had died from pneumonia and a post-mortem showed her brain was shrunken from MS.


She said Evelyn Joel had advanced brain damage, and the jury needed to consider how long she might have survived "anyway because of the disease".

Ms Boyle said Eleanor Joel did not physically care for her mother. "She had made it clear she had not done so because her mother wouldn't let her."

She said during her first interview with gardai, Eleanor Joel had said she got "fed up" looking after her mother.

"Of course she got fed up... which one of us wouldn't?" asked Ms Boyle.

She quoted from the book 'To Kill a Mocking Bird' for the jury -- stating that you never really understand a person "until you get into his skin and walk around in it".

"My client is looking for justice," she said, before asking the jury to acquit her.

Defence for Mr Costen, John O'Kelly SC, said the prosecution's case "cannot bear the cold light of scientific scrutiny".

"You have to prove that they actually did this. What I am saying is there isn't a scrap of evidence that they did," he said.

Mr O'Kelly said Mr Costen was "no blood relative" to Evelyn Joel and "certainly didn't assume responsibility for Evelyn Joel at any stage".

"Does he become criminally liable because he didn't put her out on the road?" he asked.

He added: "If ever there was a case where the prosecution have failed abysmally, this is it."

Judge Gerard Griffin summarised the evidence from the 18-day trial for the jury yesterday, and it is expected to begin deliberations today.

Irish Independent

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