Wednesday 22 November 2017

Tale of sex and lies leads to a conviction for manslaughter

After 13 days of evidence the jury found the State had not proved that Eamonn Lillis murdered his wife, says Abigail Rieley

Abigail Rieley

Eamonn Lillis bit his lip as he waited for the jury to deliver their verdict. He looked up with a nervous half smile as his senior counsel Brendan Grehan walked past him to sit down. As the jury came in, his face once again became impassive as he waited to hear his fate.

After 13 days of evidence and nine-and-a-half hours of deliberation, the six men and six women had finally come to a decision. They had decided, by a majority of 10 to two, that the State had been unable to prove Lillis had intended to kill or seriously injure his wife Celine Cawley when they struggled on the patio outside their Howth home on December 15, 2008.

Seated at the back of the packed courtroom, the Cawley family listened quietly as Mr Justice Barry White thanked the jury for their careful attention to the facts and excused them from further jury service for the rest of their lives. Celine's niece Joanna was the only one visibly upset. Tears streamed down her face as the news sank in. Celine's sister Susanna held her composure until the proceedings broke up and the family could finally leave the courtroom.

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