Sunday 19 November 2017

Former soldier guilty of cousin’s manslaughter

Niamh O’Donoghue

A FORMER soldier who stabbed his first cousin 15 times has been found guilty of his manslaughter at the Central Criminal Court.

Father-of-one Anthony Leahy (25) of Sirius House, Passage West had pleaded not guilty to murdering Jonathan Daly (25) at that address on January 19, 2012.

But the jury of eight women and four men found him not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter by unanimous decision after two hours of deliberation.

Mr Justice Paul Carney thanked the jury before excusing them from further service for life and will sentence Leahy on June 24.

During the trial father-of-two Jonathan Daly was described as a lovely fellow when he was sober but a demon when he was drinking.

His partner Sharon Ford told the court that he had once assaulted her and had been in altercations with the gardai.

The trial heard that Mr Daly visited his first cousin at his apartment in Sirius House and had been drinking heavily.

Witnesses said they saw two men pushing each other outside the apartments that night and Leahy’s partner Ms Rachel Daunt told the court the accused went into the kitchen to get a knife and then stabbed Mr Daly.

Ms Daunt told gardai in a later statement that Leahy told her to say that Mr Daly came at him with the knife first.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster said the deceased sustained 15 stab wounds in the “violent and sustained attack” and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Leahy took to the stand to give evidence during the trial in which he said he could not account for stabbing Mr Daly 15 times and was trying to protect his girlfriend who the court heard was threatened by the deceased saying: “I just lost my head”.

Mr Thomas Creed SC defending said the case was full of emotion and it was a very sad trial in which there was no motive.

“You have a man on trial for murdering his cousin whom he loved and was his friend”, said Mr Creed.

He said Mr Daly “was a nice fellow when he was sober” but “when he’d drink taken he became demonic.”

Mr Creed said the attack was frenzied but was more consistent with someone losing the run of themselves than somebody with a controlled mind.

He asked the jury to “feel the fear that was there” and to consider the defence of provocation.

Mr Creed also said it was important to bear in mind that all of the actions happened in seconds and that it was not a prolonged attack.

Mr Justice Carney told the jury it does not follow that if an accused person tells lies that you infer guilt.

He told the jury if a person was provoked they could return a verdict of manslaughter rather than murder.

Garda Martin Lawton told Mr Paul Burns SC prosecuting that Leahy had 16 previous convictions for offences including road traffic and public order.

He said Leahy had joined the army where he reached the rank of 3-star private when he was 17 and served for five years before leaving in 2010. He said he had started a computer course.

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