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Father accused of murdering infant son could be found guilty of manslaughter, jury told

The judge told the jury that to be guilty of murder, an accused person must at the time of the killing have a guilty state of mind.

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A FATHER ACCUSED of murdering his infant son could be found guilty of manslaughter if the jury does not believe he intended to kill or cause serious injury to the child.

Justice Patrick McCarthy at the Central Criminal Court began his charge to the nine women and three men this morning, telling them that to be guilty of murder an accused person must, at the time of the killing, have a guilty state of mind.

John Tighe (40) of Lavallyroe, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo has pleaded not guilty to murdering six-and-a-half-month old Joshua Sussbier Tighe at his home on 1 June 2013.

Justice McCarthy said that if the jury is satisfied that Joshua was unlawfully killed, they could return an alternative verdict of manslaughter if the prosecution has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Tighe intended to kill or cause serious injury.

He further told the jury that before they could consider either of those verdicts they must be satisfied that Tighe unlawfully killed Joshua, which is denied by the accused.

It is the prosecution case that baby Joshua choked on a wad consisting of two scrunched up pieces of tissue that was placed in his throat by the accused. Tighe has maintained from the outset that he was changing the baby’s nappy, went to the toilet and when he returned Joshua was choking on the tissue.

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Justice McCarthy will continue his charge to the jury this afternoon.

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Eoin Reynolds & Alison O'Riordan

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