Psychiatric nurse convicted of stabbing three people after 18th birthday party
A psychiatric nurse has been convicted of stabbing three people after a row with his neighbours following an 18th birthday party.
Brian Quinn (46) formerly of Tallaght, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Stephen Keogh, Lee Harte and James Toner Senior on October 9, 2011.
He had further pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to Kurtis Lennon, James Toner Junior and Robert Ryan and production of a knife on the same date.
The jury of two women and nine men today convicted him on the charge of seriously assaulting Mr Harte and assaulting Mr Lennon and Mr Toner Junior causing them harm. He was also convicted of production of a knife.
Quinn was acquitted of the remaining charges.
Judge Carmel Stewart thanked the jury for its attention during the trial and excused them from service for five years.
The jury, which lost one member today, due to a family matter, had deliberated for seven and half hours on day-11 of the trial before returning the verdicts.
Quinn, who didn’t react to the verdicts, had his bail revoked and was remanded in custody until next week, when a date will be set for sentence.
Summary of the trial
During the trial, the court heard medical evidence that Mr Harte had a blood transfusion after doctors discovered he had a collapsed lung and part of his bowel coming out from an abdomen wound.
Both Mr Lennon and Mr Toner Jnr suffered single stab wounds to their abdomens.
Other medical evidence in relation to Mr Toner Snr, a convicted drug dealer who has served jail terms in Ireland and in Scotland, stated that he had part of his bowel removed during treatment for two stab wounds.
Mr Toner Snr told the court he had a “total block” as to what had happened.
“I have no real recollection of the night but there was chaos and shouting. The only thing I remember is getting hammered, drinking shots,” he said.
Mr Keogh had a liver laceration from a single stab wound below his rib cage.
The court heard that the stabbings took place after an altercation outside the two neighbouring houses escalated from “handbag stuff” into physical aggression.
Quinn told gardai during interview that he saw a “sea of faces” pushing in to his house and his partner, Gabrielle Keegan, being attacked by some men at the door as she smoked outside.
He said he had grabbed a “pen or corkscrew” from his pocket and fought his way out of his house to come to his partner's aid, but that he was “not sure what happened next”.
Quinn said he was struck on the head with a baseball bat and pulled through his hallway by about eight or nine people. He said he then saw two young lads kicking and standing on his partner.
He told his counsel, Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, that his memory of the event was “hazy or sketchy” because of the bangs to his head.
An orthopaedic consultant told the court that Quinn experienced amnesia, problems forming words and “signs of acute confusion” while being treated for possible head injuries after a baseball bat beating.
Quinn’s amnesia and dysarthria, a motor speech disorder, resolved over time.
The jury heard that Quinn had an orange belt in jiu jitsu and had received physical restraint training for his work as mental health nurse.
He told counsel that this would be practiced without inflicting harm and that he would never deliberately stab anyone.
Paul Carroll BL, prosecuting, pointed out that there had been at least eight stab wounds inflicted.
He said some of the victims had received multiple stab wounds, citing medical opinion which said they had suffered “serious harm with a substantial risk of death.”
He told the jury in his closing speech to consider whether this level of force with a lethal weapon could be considered as reasonable self-defence.
“It would be a giant leap to say it was all self-defence,” he said.
Mr Ó Lideadha told the jury that the Irish constitution gives special protection to people's right to expect that their home will not be invaded.
He said self-defence in the home cannot be treated in the same way as self-defence out on the street, and that all of the injuries had taken place inside Quinn's home at a time when he was entitled to use force.
Quinn told the court that Mr Toner Sr had engaged in increasingly threatening behaviour towards him since he complained about noise and antisocial behaviour a few months before that night.
Mr Toner Snr denied having ever made threatening gestures in the shape of a gun to Quinn or singing Republican songs to him.
“I never made gestures and I was not abusive to that man,” he said.
He said he was not a violent man, and had not been involved in any of the “handbag stuff” going on outside his house before the stabbings took place.