Wednesday 12 December 2018

Young man denies unlawful killing of respected musician in 'one punch' assault

Cork University Hospital (stock photo)
Cork University Hospital (stock photo)

Ralph Riegel

A YOUNG man has denied the unlawful killing of a musician in a so-called 'one punch' assault in a popular pub.

Jonathan 'John' O'Sullivan (27) of Ducleagh, Dromagh, Cork pleaded not guilty on the opening day of his trial for the manslaughter of father of five Finbarr Lehane (65) on November 7 2016.

Mr Lehane was a respected musician in north Cork and was best known for his harmonica and spoons playing.

The prosecution told Judge Sean O'Donnabhain and a Cork Circuit Criminal Court jury that O'Sullivan has admitted punching Mr Lehane but denies the manslaughter of the 65-year-old.

Imelda Kelly BL, for the State, said the matter involved what is often referred to as "a one-punch case."

"The prosecution contends that the deceased man, Finbarr Lehane, was assaulted by John O'Sullivan.

"Both men had consumed a large amount of alcohol.

"Both men were socialising in a bar on the night of October 23 2016 and into the early hours of October 24."

Ms Kelly said the State contends that the defendant punched Mr Lehane into the face.

"Finbarr Lehane then fell backwards - thereby hitting the ground."

The State has contended that the punch led to or caused Mr Lehane's death.

The trial heard that the musician lost consciousness almost immediately at the scene.

Pub staff alerted the emergency services at 12.54am and an ambulance was at the scene within three minutes.

Mr Lehane was also treated by an advanced paramedic before being transferred to Cork University Hospital (CUH).

Tragically, despite the best efforts to doctors to stabilise his condition, he was pronounced dead 14 days later on November 7.

Mr Lehane lived at Glen South, Banteer, Co Cork with his wife. He had five adult children.

The jury was told evidence will be offered by a number of people in the pub premises at the time while CCTV security camera footage, which captured the incident itself, will be played.

The trial, which is expected to last two days, continues.

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