Tuesday 21 August 2018

New jury sworn in trial of dad (40) accused of murdering his baby

John Tighe has pleaded not guilty to murdering his six-month-old son Joshua Sussbier Tighe. Photo: Collins Courts
John Tighe has pleaded not guilty to murdering his six-month-old son Joshua Sussbier Tighe. Photo: Collins Courts

Eoin Reynolds

A new jury has been sworn to hear the trial of a father accused of murdering his baby son.

Justice Patrick McCarthy discharged the original jury this morning, day 4 of the Central Criminal Court trial, and swore a new jury of three men and nine women.

John Tighe (40) of Lavallyroe, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo pleaded not guilty to murdering his son Joshua Sussbier Tighe at his home on June 1, 2013.

Justice McCarthy explained that the delay caused by last week's weather meant the trial would likely continue to next week and one of the jurors has a prior commitment. Before asking the new jury to select a foreman, he told them that the trial may have attracted media coverage over the previous week and, although he doesn't expect them to live in a bubble, they should try the case only on the evidence they hear in court.

Paul Murray SC said the prosecution's case is that baby Joshua died from asphyxiation due to an egg-shaped "bolus" of tissue in his throat. He said the jury will hear from medical experts who will say that a baby of Joshua's age, six-and-a-half months, could not have formed the bolus with his hand or by chewing it with his mouth and could not have swallowed it. As Mr Tighe was the only other person in the house that day, counsel said Mr Tighe is the only person who could have done it.

He added that the accused has maintained from the outset that it was an accident, that he was changing the baby's nappy and went to the toilet. When he came back the baby had gone blue and he believed he had swallowed a baby wipe.

This explanation, Mr Murray said, does not hold up in the light of the expert medical opinion that the jury will hear.

The trial continues this afternoon.

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