Thursday 21 February 2019

Murderer tunes out as family finds true peace

Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

A CURIOUSLY childlike expression seemed to be determinedly pasted on to the face of John Dundon as he strolled into court carrying an outdated CD Walkman player.

Declining to rise in the usual courtesy for the judges, he instead chose to place the headphones upon his ears and, almost happily, it seemed, sat on his bench listening to rap music that escaped in loud hisses.

Nobody put a stop to this breach of court etiquette. It was almost as if the judicial process had decided there was no point in trying to reform Dundon.

It was a disturbing sight to see this hardened murderer in such an apparently carefree state of mind, gazing blankly and blithely into space.

It certainly seemed an affront to the gently patient face of Mary Geoghegan, mother of the innocent murdered rugby player, Shane, who sat in court alongside Shane's fiancee Jenna Barry and his brother, Anthony.

The level of Dundon's music appeared to rise at certain points during the reading of the judgment by Justice Nicholas Kearns, and his enjoyment of the experience also seemed to increase as he rocked and jiggled to the beat in his black and blue tracksuit.

Before the judgment, Brendan Nix SC, for Dundon, made one final attempt to call for a retrial, acknowledging it was "very late in the day".

He had learned over the weekend of a newspaper article in which Justice Kearns had been quoted making a remark at an appeal about the ongoing gangland feuds in Limerick being a "source of concern not just for the local population but for the entire country".

The court "utterly rejected" Mr Nix's application as being "preposterous".

Justice Kearns read the last 23 pages of the weighty 84-page judgment, in which the panel of three judges said they treated the three main witnesses as accomplices, but found their evidence to be credible.

Their testimonies placed Dundon in a "central role" in the planning of the murder.

Coming rapidly to a conclusion, Justice Kearns briskly pronounced Dundon to be guilty.

The amiable expression on Dundon's face lay undisturbed.

A small sense of true peace appeared to descend meanwhile on the faces of Mrs Geoghegan and Ms Barry while Anthony's colour heightened in emotion.

Justice – though never bringing Shane back – had at least been served.

Tom O'Connell SC, for the prosecution, indicated that the Geoghegan family did not wish to make a victim impact statement. Mrs Geoghegan merely wished to say that they would "let the facts of the case speak for themselves".

Dundon took off his headphones as his barrister spoke. Mr Nix told the court his client had wished him to express his deep regret that Mr Geoghegan had died but claimed he had "no hand act or part" in his death. He expressed his sympathy with the family – though he doubted it would be accepted.

He said his client still maintained his innocence and hoped that "some day the true story will come out".

Dundon replaced his headphones immediately after Mr Nix had finished speaking – and moments later could not resist making a covertly coarse hand gesture to betray what he really thought of the judgment.

He was led away to begin his immediate life sentence.

Irish Independent

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