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Woman convicted of murdering a man by driving off Wicklow pier appeals life sentence

Marta Herda was given the mandatory life sentence last year.

Marta Herda has appealed her life sentence.
Marta Herda has appealed her life sentence.

A 30-YEAR-old woman who drove a man into a deep harbour, where he drowned, has opened an appeal against her conviction.

Marta Herda, of Pairc Na Saile, Emoclew Road, Arklow, Wicklow, knew her passenger could not swim when she drove her Volkswagen Passat through the crash barriers at South Quay, Arklow shortly before 6am on 26 March 2013.

Herda had pleaded not guilty to the murder of 31-year-old Hungarian man Csaba Orsos but a jury at the Central Criminal Court found her guilty and she was given the mandatory life sentence by Justice Patrick McCarthy in 2016.

The Central Criminal Court heard that the Polish waitress escaped through the driver’s window at the harbour but her colleague’s body was found on a nearby beach later that day. A post-mortem exam found that 31-year-old Csaba Orsos died from drowning and not from injuries related to the crash.

The trial heard that the handbrake had been applied before the car entered the water and that the only open window was the driver’s.

Opening an appeal against conviction today, Herda’s barrister, Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, said there were six broad headings under which the appeal was being moved: whether or not the driving into the river was accidental or deliberate; the issue of recklessness; if the driving was deliberate, whether in those circumstances it was still open to the jury to return a verdict of not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter specifically an assault manslaughter.

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Further headings covered “alleged confessions” and the judge’s charge to the jury with regard to circumstantial evidence.

The appeal hearing, which is expected to last for two days, continues tomorrow.

About the author:

Ruaidhrí Giblin

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