Friday 23 August 2019

Jury considering verdict in soldier murder trial ask about fingerprint evidence

Warren O'Connor
Warren O'Connor

Alison O’Riordan

A jury considering their verdict in the trial of a Dublin man accused of murdering a former soldier has asked about fingerprint evidence.

Gary Watson (35), with an address at Millbrook Avenue, Kilbarrack, Dublin 13 has pleaded not guilty to murdering Warren O’Connor (24) at Hole in the Wall Road, Donaghmede, Dublin 13 on January 16, 2010.

Mr O’Connor died from a single stab wound to the neck and the knife’s blade was found “partially impaled” in his body when his post-mortem was conducted.

Mr Watson also denies assaulting Philip Woodcock (34) causing him harm on the same occasion and producing a knife to intimidate another person in the course of a dispute.

The two-week trial at the Central Criminal Court has heard that a fight ensued between two groups of men after Mr Woodcock removed a fuse and cut power to his neighbour’s apartment so an allegedly "noisy house party" would end and the occupants would leave.

The jury of seven men and five women had been deliberating for less than one hour when they asked Mr Justice Michael White if they could view CCTV footage again on the screens in the courtroom and not on the laptop which had been provided to them in their jury room.

"I will make the courtroom a jury room for the amount of time you want to view the CCTV footage,' said Mr Justice White, adding that no one could be present in the courtroom during this time.

The courtroom was cleared and the judge ordered a garda to stay outside the main door of court six and not to let anyone inside.

Shortly after midday, the forewoman of the jury asked the judge if she could hand up a piece of paper which contained some questions. The judge read out one of the questions to the court: "Were there any fingerprints found on any of the knives?"

Addressing the jury, Mr Justice White said that Mr Watson's fingerprints were not found on the blade which was removed from Mr O'Connor's body.

The judge later reminded the jury that Garda Damien Carroll gave evidence that Mr Watson's fingerprints were not found on any of the knives. "There was no other evidence about fingerprints in the trial," he added.

Gda Carroll testified that he recovered a black-handled knife from a building near Grattan Wood apartment complex in Donaghmede as well as three knives from a black Honda Civic car. No fingerprints belonging to Mr Watson were found on these knives, said Gda Carroll.

The trial has previously heard that one group - which included Mr Woodcock and the deceased Warren O'Connor - left Grattan Wood apartment complex in a Ford Focus car on the night before it was rammed by another group - which included Mr Watson - driving the Honda Civic.

The jury has so far spent two hours and 47 minutes considering their verdict and will return this afternoon.

Mr Justice White told the jury in his charge that they must deal with each charge separately but could consider the entire evidence heard in the trial in relation to all three charges.

The judge said there were two verdicts the jury could return in relation to the murder charge, namely; guilty or not guilty.

Mr Justice White also gave the jury two warnings in his charge, a delay warning as the event occurred nine years ago as well as an identification warning. He told the jurors that they must be unanimous in their decision in respect of the three counts.

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