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Jury in Lixnaw murder trial have begun their deliberations

Oct 21, 2022 09:10 By radiokerrynews
Jury in Lixnaw murder trial have begun their deliberations Jury in Lixnaw murder trial have begun their deliberations
Central Criminal Court
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The jury in the trial of a Lixnaw man who denies the murder of his mother, after an argument about the purchase of an iPhone, have begun their deliberations at the Central Criminal Court.

At around 3.30pm yesterday, the jury broke deliberations and passed a note to the judge asking if they could inspect a hatchet used in the incident, which they took to the jury room and returned minutes later.

Expert psychiatrists have told the court that Patrick Dunne of Ballingeragh, Lixnaw, who admits killing his mother, 62-year-old Susan Dunne in 2013 but denies her murder, was incapable of understanding or controlling his actions on the night and was suffering with a mental disorder at the time.

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Dr Anthony Kearns, a consultant forensic psychiatrist, said that in his opinion Mr Dunne was legally insane at the time of his mother's 2013 killing.

Dr Kearns said he had been the main treating doctor for Mr Dunne at the Central Mental Hospital for seven years. He said that the accused had shown "considerable progress" during that time and had found him fit to stand trial earlier this year.

Dr Kearns said that Mr Dunne was on the "mild-to-moderate" spectrum of autism but also suffered an intellectual disability diagnosed when the accused was five years old.

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Dr Kearns said that Mr Dunne told him in an interview that he "regretted" the killing and said: "If I had any way to bring her back to life, I'd do it in a second".

The witness said Mr Dunne fulfilled all criteria to be considered legally insane at the time of the killing. If the jury agrees they can return a special verdict, meaning Mr Dunne could be found not guilty of the alleged murder by reason of insanity.

In her charge to the jury, Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring said the case was a "difficult" one and "unusual" in that both the prosecution and defence expert psychiatrists agreed that Mr Dunne was legally insane at the time of the killing.

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She said that if the jury were satisfied that Mr Dunne was legally insane at the time, they were required to return a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

The jury of seven women and five men will continue their deliberations today.

 

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