Saturday 17 March 2018

John Dundon to defend himself in Shane Geoghegan murder trial

John Dundon
John Dundon
Shane Geoghegan
Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

An illiterate prisoner on hunger strike will represent himself when he stands trial for the murder of rugby player Shane Geoghegan today.

John Dundon was pushed into the Special Criminal Court in a wheelchair and remained seated as he pleaded not guilty to the murder of the Garryowen player in 2008.

Dundon, from Hyde Road, Limerick, who cannot read or write, said he was "out of his depth" after agreeing to defend himself at the non-jury court.

He had sacked his solicitors, Madden and Finucane, and a team of barristers.

When questioned by Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns if he wished "to do" the case himself, he replied: "Yes sir."

But Dundon, dressed in a grey top and jeans, looked surprised when he realised that he had agreed to represent himself, telling the judge: "It's a different legal team is what I'm looking for. I can't read or write."

Tom O'Connell, prosecuting, told the court that Dundon had been given full disclosure of all documents ahead of the hearing.

Dundon, who had been taken from high-security Portlaoise prison to hospital, then asked the judge if he could speak.

"I'm out of my depth here," he said. "I don't know nothing about the law. I thought I was sacking that legal team and getting a new legal team.

"I left school at the age of nine."

Judge Kearns dismissed his application and ordered that the trial begin at 2pm.

Dundon had previously lost a Supreme Court appeal to have the case adjourned because of the amount of documents and CCTV disclosed by prosecutors in recent months.

It is understood he has only been consuming liquids for a number of weeks in dispute of the case going ahead.

Geoghegan was murdered outside his home at Clonmore, Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, Limerick, on November 9, 2008.

He had been watching an Ireland rugby international with friends and was shot several times as he returned home.

His family members and partner Jenna Barry were in court for the trial, which is listed to last several weeks.

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