Jury discharged over 'mumbled' closing

Wednesday 11 October 2006 22.35
Jury discharged over 'mumbled' closing

A murder trial jury has been discharged because the judge said he could not hear the prosecuting counsel during his closing speech.

Mr Justice Paul Carney made his comments at the conclusion of the trial of 56-year-old John O'Neill from Mercer House flats, Mercer Street in Dublin. The defendant had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 49-year-old Rosemary Dowling.

Ms Dowling's body was found wrapped in bedclothes outside his flat on 25 October, 2005.

During his closing speech to the jury, prosecution counsel Gerard Clarke described to the eight men and four women how Rosemary Dowling might have felt while she was being killed.

He said she had no voice but the members of the jury could be her voice and he went on to imagine what she would say.

Defence counsel Brendan Grehan described the speech as inflammatory.

Mr Justice Paul Carney said the prosecution speech was 'mumbled and muttered'.

He told the jury members they may have heard the speech but he could not hear enough to put him in a position to adjudicate on it and so he had to withdraw the case from them.

A new date will be fixed for a retrial.