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Man found guilty of manslaughter of Cork pensioner in 'one punch' attack

Jonathan O’Sullivan (28) had pleaded not guilty to the unlawful killing of Finbar Lehane (65).

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

A MAN HAS been found guilty of the manslaughter of a pensioner in a single punch attack at a bar in Kanturk, Co Cork in 2016.

Jonathan O’Sullivan (28) from Kanturk, Co Cork, who is originally from Goatstown, Co Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to the unlawful killing of Finbar Lehane.

When he was arraigned at Cork Circuit Criminal Court earlier this week he said he was not guilty of manslaughter but guilty of assaulting 65-year-old Lehane.

Finbar Lehane died in hospital a fortnight after being struck at the Stand Bar in Kanturk after midnight on 24 October 2016.

The charge was that at The Stand Bar, The Square, Kanturk, O’Sullivan unlawfully killed Finbarr Lehane.

The jury in the case found him guilty of manslaughter by an eleven to one majority.

O’Sullivan was remanded on bail until his sentencing hearing on 28 February next.

‘Hit the ground with unmerciful crack’

The trial had heard that the defendant and Lehane were out socialising in the bar in Kanturk into the early hours of the morning. Imelda Kelly, prosecution barrister, said that alcohol was a feature of the case.

Lehane incurred a single punch to the face and he fell backwards, hit the ground and lost consciousness. He died a fortnight later in hospital.

Liz Angland, who was working in the bar that night, informed gardaí that Lehane “hit the ground with an unmerciful crack.”

Jonathan O’Sullivan told gardaí that Lehane had been “talking ráméis” into his ear at the counter of the bar.

I decided to go out the back. I don’t know what happened. I just drew a punch.

In a subsequent interview, he said the deceased was “talking shite.”

He thought that Lehane was “messing” on the ground when he didn’t get up.

Mary Rose Gearty, defence senior counsel, said that her client had wept through the interview with gardaí and that this was only a day after the incident and a considerable amount of time before Finbarr Lehane died in hospital.

Lehane was a respected musician in north Cork and was best known for his harmonica and spoons playing. He lived at Glen South, Banteer, Co Cork with his wife and had four adult children.

He was laid to rest in Lyre Cemetery after a funeral mass at St Fursey’s Church in Banteer.

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Olivia Kelleher

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