Monday 20 January 2020

Jury 'stuck in this ring' and unable to reach verdict yet in trial of man accused of murdering nephew's friend

Tadhg Butler in a photo from 2000
Tadhg Butler in a photo from 2000

Natasha Reid

A jury deliberating in the trial of a Kilkenny man, charged with murdering his nephew’s friend, has told the judge that it’s ‘stuck in this ring’ where there’s no prospect of reaching a verdict, but has asked for one more hour to try.

The six men and six women had begun deliberating on Wednesday in the Central Criminal Court trial of Tadhg Butler, who is charged with murdering Michael O’Dwyer on 10th January 2014. The 25-year-old died in hospital, hours after receiving a stab wound to his chest at a party in Mr Butler’s Co Waterford home.

Mr Butler, 37, with an address at Seafield in Tramore, has pleaded not guilty. Previously known as Thomas O’Grady, the father of five told his trial that he accidentally stabbed him while taking a knife from his nephew to prevent him self-harming.

That nephew, Anthony (Tony) O’Grady, told gardai that Mr Butler had walked over and stabbed his friend with a butcher’s knife as they sat and chatted. However, when called to the witness box, he said he couldn't remember anything, partly due to his personality disorders and five daily medications.

The six men and six women of the jury began considering their verdict on Wednesday and had deliberated for about five hours when they returned to court with a query this afternoon.

“The jury has not come to a unanimous or majority verdict and seems to be stuck in this ring,” said the foreman, explaining that they didn’t see any prospect of reaching a verdict ‘at this stage’.

“My suggestion is that we go to lunch and then sit in the room for about an hour and…,” he began.

“That’s very good of you,” remarked Mr Justice Paul Butler. “I want to make it very clear that no juror, fine if you’ve a verdict, but no juror should feel under pressure. They should listen and talk but shouldn’t feel under pressure to change their minds.”

He told them if they couldn’t reach a verdict on which at least 10 of them agreed, the foreman should write ‘Disagree’ on the issue paper.

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