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Man found guilty of manslaughter in second trial over father-of-one's fatal stabbing

The man was originally convicted of murder in 2014 but the conviction was overturned on appeal.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: RollingNews.ie

A CENTRAL CRIMINAL Court jury has found a Mulhuddart man who admitted stabbing a father-of-one three times not guilty of his murder but guilty of manslaughter.

During the course of the trial, prosecution counsel Vincent Heneghan SC, with Seamus Clarke SC, told the jury that Andrew Gibney (25) was part of a joint enterprise to murder Gerard Burnett (28) and he was one of five men who went to the deceased’s house on the night.

Counsel for the defence, Giollaiosa O Lideadha SC with Philipp Rahn BL, argued that if the evidence pointed to a reasonable possibility that Gibney intended to cause some harm to Mr Burnett short of serious harm, the appropriate verdict was manslaughter.

Gibney told gardai that he stabbed the deceased in the side three times with a knife. The accused went to a garda station of his own free will a week after the killing and told officers: “I was involved in the incident, the chap is dead now and I need to give him peace.”

Chief State Pathologist, Professor Marie Cassidy, gave evidence that the deceased suffered 30 knife injuries, the majority being stab wounds.

She testified that the fatal injuries were six stab wounds on the right side of Burnett’s chest, all of which had penetrated deeply, causing internal injuries to his right lung, heart and liver.

Gibney, of Dromheath Avenue, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15 had pleaded not guilty to murdering Gerard Burnett at Castlecurragh Vale, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15 on August 21, 2012.

A jury of five men and seven women today found Gibney not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter. They had deliberated for seven hours and six minutes over three days.

Following today’s verdict, Justice Paul Butler thanked the jury for their attention in the matter and exempted them from jury service for a period of ten years.

The court adjourned sentencing until December 13 and Justice Butler remanded Gibney in custody until that date.

Members of Gibney’s family wept when the verdict was announced by the court registrar.

The five-day trial heard that Gibney told gardaí in interviews that Burnett had stabbed him in the shoulder with a screwdriver four years previously but the two had made amends.

The judge said in his charge to the jury that the principle of joint enterprise was central to the case.

He said where two or more persons embark on a joint enterprise, all parties to that agreement are criminally liable. But where one party goes beyond what has been tacitly agreed, then the other is not liable for the consequences of this act.

This was the second time Gibney went on trial for Burnett’s murder. He was originally convicted of the 28-year old’s murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in January 2014.

That conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal in November last year and a retrial was ordered.

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Alison O'Riordan

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