Shutterstock/Andy Dean Photography

Judge tells jury in murder trial that acquitting three accused would be "illogical"

Justice Margaret Heneghan also described a non-guilty verdict as “theoretical”.

A JUDGE HAS told a jury at a murder trial that it would be “illogical” to fully acquit any of the three men before them.

Justice Margaret Heneghan explained to the jury that there are four possible verdicts in relation to each of the three murder accused but that the not guilty verdict is, in her opinion, “theoretical”.

Justice Heneghan was giving her charge in the trial of Matthew Cummins, (22), of Churchview Heights, Edenderry, Co Offaly, Sean Davy, (21), of Clonmullen Drive, Edenderry and James Davy (25), of Thornhill Meadows, Celbridge, Co Kildare.

All three have pleaded not guilty to murdering 64-year-old Thomas ‘Toddy’ Dooley at his home in Sr Senan Court, Edenderry on 12 February, 2014.

The jury was sent home at 4pm yesterday and will return this morning to continue deliberating.

The trial has heard that the three men got into the 64-year-old’s home through a window at about 5.30am on a cold February morning. Mr Dooley, who was used to having young visitors at irregular hours, drank with them for a time but was then beaten to death. The prosecution says that all three are equally guilty and were involved in a “joint enterprise” to murder Mr Dooley.

Yesterday Justice Margaret Heneghan finished her charge to the jury and sent the eight men and four women out to begin their deliberations.

She told them that there are four verdicts open to them in relation to each of the accused. Matthew Cummins and James Davy can be found guilty of murder, or not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter, or not guilty of murder but guilty of impeding the apprehension of the principle offender, or not guilty.

The third possible verdict for Sean Davy, who admitted striking Mr Dooley once on the head with a baseball bat, is not guilty of murder but guilty of assault causing harm.

Justice Heneghan said that a verdict of assault causing harm for Sean Davy was “open to you in theory only” and would not be logical given the evidence.

She explained that they could convict him of manslaughter if the prosecution had proven beyond reasonable doubt that he struck Mr Dooley but that he did not intend to cause serious harm.

‘Theory only’

In relation to the other two men she said a verdict of not guilty “is there in theory only”.
She added: “If you come up with that verdict that would be illogical given the evidence we have had over the last three weeks.”

She further warned the jury that they must consider each of the accused separately. She said accounts of what happened on the night given by any of the accused are only relevant to that person.

They therefore should not consider what one accused said about another when deciding their guilt or innocence.

The jury spent 3 hours and 24 minutes considering their verdict and will return today.

Comments on this article have been turned off as legal proceedings are ongoing. 

Read: Third person to appear in court over serious assault that left victim in critical condition

Also: Man facing sexual assault charges says he can’t be extradited because of the UK Brexit vote