Tuesday 17 September 2019

Man charged with manslaughter of father who died after alleged assault while celebrating daughters' christening

Seamus Bell in a picture taken just hours before the attack
Seamus Bell in a picture taken just hours before the attack

Tom Tuite

A 34-YEAR-OLD man has been charged with the manslaughter of Seamus Bell who died four and a half months after sustaining serious injuries in an assault in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan.

Vytautas Racys, a married father of two from Lithuania, who lived at Lough na Glack in Carrickmacross, appeared at Cloverhill District Court today to face an additional charge for unlawfully killing Mr Bell.

The father of three, a fitness instructor from Foxfield, Carrickmacross, was left in a coma after an alleged assault on January 20 last.

However, the 36-year-old was pronounced dead on June 3 at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

Mr Bell had been out celebrating with his partner, Edel Tighe, and close family members following the christening of his twin daughters Cara and Ava when the incident occurred on Main Street in Carrickmacross.

Mr Racys had been in custody on remand since he was initially charged in January with intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Seamus Bell. That charge was contrary to Section Four of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997.

At his latest hearing today when the more serious charge was brought, the accused, dressed in a red jacket, black T-shirt and brown trousers, listened to the proceedings via an interpreter. He did not address the court.

Det Sergeant Kieran Regan, who is attached to Carrickmacross Garda station, told Judge Victor Blake an additional charge had been brought against Mr Racys.

He told Judge Blake he met the accused today and identified himself by showing his Garda ID.

Mr Racys was charged and cautioned that he was not obliged to say anything but if he did say anything it would be used in evidence.

Det Sergeant Regan said the accused “made no reply” when the new charge was put to him and he was handed a copy of the charge sheet.

Judge Blake was told the Director of Public Prosecutions has directed Mr Racys is to face trial on indictment in relation to the two charges and the book of evidence would be ready in two weeks.

Defence barrister Miriam Delahunt said there was no application for bail.

The judge extended time for the prosecution to complete the book of evidence and remanded the accused in custody to appear again on June 28 next when the case will be listed for mention.

He also directed that an interpreter would be present for the next hearing.

Noting there was no garda objection, he acceded to a defence request to grant Mr Racys legal aid for the new charge.

There was no indication as to how he will plead.

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