Saturday 18 November 2017

Jury to get fresh legal direction after failing to reach a verdict

Edel Kennedy

THE jury in the Eamonn Lillis murder trial is to be given further legal direction this morning after failing to reach a verdict on the second day of deliberations.

The six men and six women on the jury were sent home last night after failing to reach a unanimous verdict, as directed by Mr Justice Barry White.

Earlier in the day, they listened to a recording of the evidence given by Mr Lillis on day nine of the trial.

The 52-year-old has pleaded not guilty to the murder of his wife, Celine Cawley, at their home in Howth, Co Dublin on December 15, 2008.

Shortly after 11am yesterday, the jury returned to the courtroom after previously seeking a number of items.

On Wednesday, they sought to rehear the 999 call, made by Mr Lillis on the day his wife died. They asked to see a Rip Curl suitcase found in the attic of the family home, and its contents, as well as clothes found in a wardrobe in the house.

And they requested copies of the report by deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis; Mr Lillis's evidence before the court; mistress Jean Treacy's statement to gardai and the couple's daughter's statement to gardai. They could not be given copies of the garda statements as they were not exhibits in the case.

The jury foreman told the judge they were satisfied to refer to their notes for Dr Curtis's evidence and did not need to hear his evidence again.

But they said they wished to hear the evidence Mr Lillis gave from the witness box up until the time he spoke of making the 999 call.

For the first time, the court played an audio recording of the evidence, during which the jury members took notes.

Afterwards, a CD copy of the 999 call and three bags containing the various pieces of physical evidence they had requested, were given to them.

They retired to the jury room for 45 minutes of deliberation before going to lunch.

They resumed deliberations shortly after 2pm and broke at 4.30pm for a cigarette break. At that point, the judge told them he intended to send them home at 5.30pm and asked if they would prefer to go home straight after their break or to continue their deliberations. They said they would prefer to continue. They were then sent home at 5.30pm.

The judge told them they would be expected to re-sit at 11am today, adding "I will give you further direction in relation to your verdict tomorrow."

Earlier this week, the judge directed the jury to first decide if Ms Cawley's death was murder and, if not, whether it was unlawful killing. If they decided it was not an unlawful killing, they would have to acquit Mr Lillis.


He advised them that there were three possibilities in which they could consider Ms Cawley's death an unlawful killing.

The first, he said, was if the individual did not intend to kill or cause serious injury. The second was where there was provocation, which could comprise words, actions or both

Thirdly, he said, there were two types of self-defence. The first was where an individual was acting in self-defence and took the life of another to save their own life. This would lead to an absolute acquittal.

But when someone acts in self-defence using "more force than reasonably necessary", this is not an absolute defence, and that person would be guilty of manslaughter.

The judge instructed the 12 jury members that they cannot return a verdict of manslaughter if their numbers were split on the reason for her death.

Irish Independent

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