Saturday 14 December 2019

Jury acquits man on one charge of attempted murder but fails to reach verdict on other charges

The Criminal Courts of Justice
The Criminal Courts of Justice

Eoin Reynolds

A jury has acquitted a Louth man on one charge of attempted murder but failed to agree a verdict on three other charges.

Paul Crosby (22) of Rathmullen Park in Drogheda was on trial at the Central Criminal Court, charged with two counts of attempting to murder Gerard Boyle firstly by stabbing him 28 times and later, after ordering him into the boot of a car, by pushing that car into a canal on 10th November, 2016.

He was also charged with falsely imprisoning Mr Boyle and to causing him serious harm at Knockcommon, Beauparc, Slane, Co Meath. He pleaded not guilty to all four charges.

After a little over five hours of deliberations the jury of five women and six men said Mr Crosby was not guilty on the attempted murder charge relating to pushing the car into the canal. The foreman of the jury told Justice Patrick McCarthy that they were at an "impasse" in relation to the other charges, adding: "We have been at a deadlock for a considerable amount of time."

Justice McCarthy asked the foreman to write "disagree" on the issue paper in relation to those charges and thanked them for their service, exempted them from further jury duty and discharged them. He remanded the accused until February 26 when a new date could be fixed for his trial.

During the trial the prosecution said that Mr Boyle suffered a punctured lung after being stabbed 28 times and was then put into the boot of a car which was pushed into a canal. Despite his injuries, Mr Boyle escaped and swam to shore where he flagged down a passerby. Emergency services personnel found him slumped against a stop sign, soaked in blood and water and a treating consultant told the court that he might have died.

During the trial Mr Boyle denied intentionally naming the wrong person as his attacker. He said that Mr Crosby had smashed a window in his home in Drogheda earlier that year and called to his home on the night of the stabbing, asking if he wanted to go for a chat to sort things out.

Mr Boyle agreed to "go for a spin" and they travelled by car towards Slane with a third man. Mr Boyle took over driving when they got to Knockcommon. He said: "I was driving for about 30 seconds and I felt something sticking into my left arm and turned around. Paul had a knife. I pulled the handbrake and stopped the car and he stabbed me in the back.”

He said he managed to get out onto the road, but that Mr Crosby told him to get into the boot, claiming that he would bring him to hospital.

He said that he had travelled in the boot for about 15 minutes when he felt the car incline. He eventually managed to get out of the boot onto the back seat.

“I opened the side door and I could see I was in water,” he recalled. “I looked around and swam across up onto the bank.”

Under cross examination by Michael Bowman SC working with Monahan Solicitors, defending, Mr Boyle said that he "wouldn't let someone go down for something they didn't do."

Mr Bowman said that Mr Crosby’s was an easy name to give because the Gardaí, knowing about the incident with the broken window, would ‘put two and two together’ and believe him.

Mr Boyle asked what good it would be if he named Paul Crosby for no reason and the people who really did it got away with it.

“This kills two birds with the one stone, identify Paul Crosby and create no more difficulty for you with the real person involved,” suggested Mr Bowman, saying that he had gone for the easy option in naming his client.

“The easiest thing in the world to do - move people around like pieces on a chess board,” continued the barrister. “You’ll be far from covered in glory when the truth does come out.”

Mr Boyle said he was telling the truth.

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