Sunday 26 May 2019

Jury seeks print-outs of Garda interviews with murder accused

Pleaded not guilty: Patrick Quirke leaves the Criminal Courts of Justice with his wife Imelda. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Pleaded not guilty: Patrick Quirke leaves the Criminal Courts of Justice with his wife Imelda. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The jury in the Tipperary "love rival" murder trial has requested print-outs of Garda interviews with murder accused Pat Quirke.

Jurors also sought phone records entered in evidence.

The requests, which were granted, came little over an hour after the jury of six men and six women retired at 2.14pm yesterday to consider its verdict.

Mr Quirke (50), a farmer of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of his alleged love rival Bobby Ryan (52), a part-time DJ known as 'Mr Moonlight', on a date between June 3, 2011, and April 30, 2013.

Mr Ryan went missing after leaving the home of his girlfriend Mary Lowry, at Fawnagown, Co Tipperary. His body was found 22 months later in a tank on her farm, which Mr Quirke was leasing at the time.

The jury will resume its deliberations at the Central Criminal Court this morning, having been out for around an hour and 45 minutes.

Before beginning deliberations, the jury was charged by Ms Justice Eileen Creedon.

This involved the judge giving jurors a synopsis of the evidence and guiding them on the legal rules they must apply in the jury room.

Ms Justice Creedon told the jury circumstantial evidence can be powerful, but must also be considered with care.

She said the prosecution's case was based on circumstantial evidence, which it argues showed Mr Quirke murdered Mr Ryan. But she said the defence had argued this evidence was "not enough" to convict Mr Quirke of murder.

Ms Justice Creedon told the jury it would have to consider the weight of the evidence and would need to be objective and dispassionate. She said it must not be influenced by emotion, sympathy, anger or disgust.

"Circumstantial evidence can be powerful evidence, but you must consider it with care," she said.

The judge advised jurors there are only two possible verdicts open to them, either guilty of murder or not guilty.

She told them that to convict Mr Quirke they would have to be satisfied that not finding him guilty would be "an affront to common sense".

The prosecution alleges Mr Quirke killed Mr Ryan so he could rekindle his relationship with Ms Lowry, a widow the married farmer had an affair with between 2008 and 2010.

Ms Justice Creedon told jurors it had been a long case and that if she left some details out of her charge, this did not mean they were not important. She said a print-out of the evidence was available and if at any time they wanted to be reminded of a piece of evidence, they could ask for this to be read to them.

The judge said it was up to the jury to decide the facts of the case and what happened.

She said Mr Quirke enjoyed the presumption of innocence and the starting point of its deliberations was that he was not guilty. "He remains not guilty unless and until you decide on the evidence he is guilty," she said.

"You must look with a critical mind at the evidence. You must weigh one piece against another."

The onus of proving the case was on the prosecution, she said, and the defence does not have to prove anything.

She said proof was required to a standard of beyond reasonable doubt.

The judge said that if the jury had doubts, these must be based on reason and could not be fanciful.

She told the jury it could only convict if it was certain, satisfied and had no reasonable doubt.

Irish Independent

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