Wednesday 22 November 2017

Mark Nash murder trial jury to continue deliberations tomorrow

Mark Nash
Mark Nash

Alison O' Riordan

A jury in the trial of a man accused of murdering two women eighteen years ago spent nearly forty minutes deliberating this afternoon at the Central Criminal Court before being sent home until tomorrow morning.

Mark Nash (42), who has last addresses at Prussia Street and Clonliffe Road in Dublin, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the murder of Sylvia Shields (60) and Mary Callanan (61) between March 6 and March 7, 1997.

The trial has heard the two women were living in sheltered accommodation in a house attached to St Brendan’s Psychiatric Hospital in Grangegorman at the time.

After a trial lasting 48 days, Mr Justice Carroll Moran addressed the jury of six men and five women on the law and the legal principles that apply.

Mr Justice Moran told the jury members that the murder was based on three things, the admissions made by the accused, the print of the caterpillar boot found in bedroom number one of Orchard View and finally the scientific evidence and DNA.

He said to the court there was a mention in the case of two people killed in Ballintubber in Roscommon and a Sarah Jane Doyle injured and this was raised to give the context between the gardai and the accused being in Galway in mid August in 1997.

"Those matters in Ballintubber would not normally have been mentioned as they are of no probative value in assessing values in this account. You must not take this into account in assessing the accused," he added.

The court heard there are two counts against the accused which require two separate verdicts.

"You could bring in different verdicts on two counts and I don’t want to trespass into your deliberations but in reality there should only be one verdict on the two counts. The evidence has been that the same man probably committed the two murders and the similarity of injuries with the cutting of throats and genital mutilation. It is most likely that the same person committed both murders but whether it was the accused is a separate matter," he added.

"Please come back in the course of your deliberations and ask me to elaborate and mention any matter I have left out, no matter how trivial it seems to you to be," he concluded.

Mr Justice Carroll Moran then touched upon the salient points in the case of the prosecution and the defence including the two big issues in the case, the admissions and the DNA evidence.

He put it to the jury: "You are chosen at random from the electorate list, you come from all walks of life, different backgrounds, are of

both sexes and that’s deliberate and the theory is you all bring all of your experience of life and put it into the one pot, out of which will come the correct verdict."

"You will have sympathy and compassion for accused that’s natural. You have to put all such sympathies aside and look at matters as calculating and dispassionately as you can. You have to unanimous, all eleven of you have to agree on your verdict," he concluded.

He finally asked the jury to take their time and told them there was no hurry for a verdict before the jury retired at 2.22pm for less than forty minutes.

The eleven members of the jury will return to court 17 for further deliberations at 11am in the morning.

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