Monday 20 November 2017

'It is not for the DPP or gardaí to be the judge and jury' – TDs demand review of fatal stabbing case

Man claimed he was defending his property when he stabbed Kieran Monahan to death

Brian Stanley (left) Kieran Monahan (centre) and Sean Fleming (right)
Brian Stanley (left) Kieran Monahan (centre) and Sean Fleming (right)
Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

Two TDs have demanded that the case of a young man stabbed to death at a Valentine’s Day party be immediately reviewed.

Last week revealed how nobody had been charged in relation to the death of Kieran Monahan almost five years ago.

The 21-year-old died from knife injuries following the attack at a house in Kilkenny City. A decision was taken not to prosecute after the suspect claimed he was defending his home under the Criminal Law (Defence and the Dwelling) Act 2011.

But TD Sean Fleming (FF) has insisted the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) should have taken the case to court where a judge and jury could decide on the outcome.

Speaking to Mr Fleming, a TD for Laois, said there were serious questions to answer in this case and he vowed to bring it before the Dáil if nothing is done in the next few weeks.

He said: “A person has been killed whether it was lawful or unlawful should be decided in court.

Kieran Monahan
Kieran Monahan

“My view is that it is not for the gardaí and the DPP to be the judge and jury. It is for the court to decide.”

He explained: “There are two sides a story and both sides should come out in open public court, not to be decided on the desk of some public servant.”

Fellow Laois TD Brian Stanley (SF) has known the Monahan family for some time and he met Kieran several times before the death.

He questioned whether the force used by the homeowner on the night could be regarded as “reasonable”.

Brian Stanley. Photo: Tom Burke
Brian Stanley. Photo: Tom Burke

Under the 2011 law, which came into effect just one month before Kieran's death, a dweller is entitled to use reasonable force to protect themselves where "he or she believes the other person has entered or is entering the dwelling as a trespasser for the purpose of committing a criminal act".

The law was introduced in the wake of the fatal shooting of burglar John Ward by farmer Padraig Nally in 2004.

However Mr Stanley questioned if the particulars of Kieran Monahan's case qualified under the act.

Kieran and a number of his friends had been at a party in the home for several hours before the attack took place.

Some reports have suggested that a row broke out at the flat and Kieran left before returning some time later and attempting to get into the home.

However, this has not been confirmed and his family insist that they have been told several different versions of events.

James and Mary Monahan
James and Mary Monahan

Mr Stanley said: “What’s reasonable force? It would seem to me to be extreme taking a kitchen knife to defend your property. Kieran wasn’t a big strong man as I remember and he wouldn’t have been difficult to overpower.”

The politician said there are a number of questions that need to be answered.

“Have all witnesses been interviewed and have statements been taken and recorded? Have gardaí spoken to all people who were in contact with, or in the company of, the deceased and the perpetrator? Have they been interviewed and statements taken?”

Both politicians have vowed to raise the case with Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and also in the Dáil if neccessary.

Mr Fleming said: “I’m looking for a proper response in relation to this in a reasonable period of time. And if it doesn’t happen I will raise it in the Dáil.”

Mr Stanley said he also intends to raise it with the Tanaiste and, pending the outcome of that, bring it before the Dáíl chamber.

Kieran's heartbroken family said they will continue to campaign for justice and they have created an online petition which has already been signed by over 800 people.

His mother Mary explained: “I would like to see the person that stabbed my son to death prosecuted in some form. Give us our day in court with him."

A spokesperson for the DPP said the office "does not comment on individual cases".

A garda spokesman said: “The death of Kieran Monahan was fully investigated and a file sent to the DPP who directed no prosecution in the case.”

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