Saturday 17 March 2018

Judge admits 'enormous difficulty' in deciding sentence for manslaughter due to 'different accounts' of accused's culpability

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Alison O'Riordan

A judge has said that she has "encountered enormous difficulty" in sentencing a Dublin man for the manslaughter of Adil Essalhi, as there are "differing accounts" of the accused's culpability.

Michael Kinsella (24), of Swiftbrook Close in Tallaght, pleaded guilty last December to the manslaughter of 29-year-old Adil Essalhi who was killed on January 6, 2011.

His uncle Wayne Kinsella was convicted of murdering Mr Essalhi in 2012.

Mr Essalhi suffered 50 stab and chop wounds before his killers tried to set fire to his body and then dumped it in a ditch in Tyrrelstown in Tallaght.

On April 11 Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy adjourned sentencing until today after hearing a victim impact statement from Mr Essalhi's mother Geraldine. Ms Essalhi said that her son's death had destroyed her family.

On the same date Detective Sergeant Dan Callaghan of Blanchardstown Garda Station told counsel for the prosecution Kerida Naidoo SC that Wayne and Adil met in a pub in Dublin City Centre and spent the day drinking together before heading to a party at an apartment in Tallaght.

Michael Kinsella was at the party and at some point a suspicion arose that Mr Essalhi had been involved in the murder of a member of the Kinsella family in Finglas.

Wayne and Michael brought Mr Essalhi outside, telling him they were going to another party. When they reached a field near the apartment, they stabbed him to death with what state pathologist Marie Cassidy said were weapons consistent with a knife and a machete.

The court previously heard that Michael Kinsella accepts that Mr Essalhi had no involvement in the death of his relative

Today Ms Justice Murphy told the court that the accused pleaded guilty to manslaughter which "arose out of the horrific killing of Mr Essalhi."

The judge said anything from a suspended sentence to life imprisonment was available to the court but the court had "encountered enormous difficulty in attempting to discharge its function."

"It is not clear to the court on the basis of which it is to sentence Mr Kinsella. The prosecution has not outlined the basis to the court and without that the court will be forced to speculate the basis on which he is to be sentenced," she said.

The court heard there was "complex evidence" before the court with "differing accounts" of the accused's culpability," said Ms Justice Murphy.

"In one version Michael Kinsella knew Wayne Kinsella had allured Mr Essalhi to the apartment to extract revenge for the earlier murder of Lee Kinsella. In another version that was only told to the accused at the party," she said.

Ms Justice Murphy asked what was the "factual basis" on which the court was to impose sentence as "without that information, the court could not perform its task."

"The court now proposes to adjourn the matter for a short period to allow the prosecution to inform the court on the basis of which a plea of guilty of manslaughter has been accepted in this case," said the judge.

Mr Naidoo, prosecuting, told the court he understood the plea of manslaughter was accepted on an "agreed basis between the prosecution and the defence."

However the judge said she has read both reports and "it is not clear to her" as "there are varying accounts of what happened on the night."

"The conflicting accounts on the sentencing evidence gives the court concern," said the judge

The judge said the court will be in a position "to set an appropriate sentence" for Mr Kinsella on May 3.

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