Tuesday 20 August 2019

Thomas Horan trial: Murder accused admitted to mental health unit after 'expressing suicidal thoughts'

Kenneth Cummins
Kenneth Cummins

Alison O'Riordan

A man on trial accused of the murder of a 63-year-old man was admitted to a mental health unit after "expressing suicidal thoughts", a jury has heard.

Kenneth Cummins (28) and Sabrina Cummins (37), with an address at Ringsend Park, Dublin 4, have both pleaded not guilty to murdering Thomas Horan (63) at Cambridge Court, Ringsend on January 6th last year.

Sabrina Cummins and brother, Kenneth, deny the murder charges
Sabrina Cummins and brother, Kenneth, deny the murder charges

Dr Alan Byrne, a consultant psychiatrist attached to Lakeview Unit at Naas General Hospital was called to give evidence this morning.

Dr Byrne told defence counsel for Mr Cummins, Mr Giollaiosa O Lideadha SC that Mr Kenneth Cummins was admitted as a "voluntary patient" from December 24 2013 until January 3 2014 because he was "expressing suicidal thoughts" and "agitated".

"Mr Cummins had come to our attention previously as he was homeless and would have needed admission for a period of time for stabilisation," said Dr Byrne.

The court heard an assessment was done on Mr Cummins on December 24 2013 when he had ideas of cutting his wrists with broken glass.

"We felt it prudent to admit him to a psychiatric unit. The risk at that time was moderate as opposed to severe. His admission in the past had alleviated his distress so we felt it was better for him to stay rather than go," said Dr Byrne.

The court heard on January 3 2014 an arrangement was made with homeless accommodation for Mr Cummins so he was free to leave the psychiatric unit.

Prosecution counsel Mr Garret Baker BL then told the court that this concludes the prosecutions case.

The judge then addressed the jury saying that matters needed to be discussed today in their absence and a very significant part of the case had been reached.

"You have heard all the evidence that the prosecution intend to rely upon and this is an an important point in any case. Two things happen typically at this stage of the case, legal matters may arise which have to take place in your absence and the defence needs time to take stock to see how they precede from here. There is no obligation on the defence to call evidence as the burden of proof is on the prosecution," said Mr Justice Hunt.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt earlier told the jury that Ms Sabrina Cummins would not be in court this morning (TUESDAY) as she was feeling unwell and they were not to take anything from this.

The trial continues at 11am tomorrow morning.

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