Manslaughter jury asked to park emotions

Friday 16 May 2014 14.22
Closing arguments were heard in the trial this morning
Closing arguments were heard in the trial this morning

The jurors in a manslaughter trial have been asked by the defence to park their emotions when deliberating on the verdict.

Dermot Griffin, 54, has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of 12-year-old Stephen Hughes Connors in Tallaght.

Stephen died after the makeshift tent he was in was set on fire in the early hours of 1 September 2001.

Both sides have completed their closing statements.

The defence said the Criminal Courts of Justice building is full of cases of human tragedy and no one would say that the loss of a child is anything other than a great, great tragedy.

However, Bernard Condon SC said the jury must be dispassionate and cold in its deliberations, and approach the case in a forensic way.

Mr Condon said Mr Griffin is an innocent man sitting in court today and it is up to the prosecution to prove otherwise.

He described the prosecution case as "the ultimate pick n mix".

Mr Condon told the jurors that the prosecution wants them to pick up the bits of Humpty Dumpty scattered among the debris.

He said the prosecution wants them "to take out your needle and thread and try to put a tapestry together" in support of its case.

In its closing statement, the prosecution said the three heroin addicts who implicated Mr Griffin in the alleged manslaughter have no reason to lie.

The main prosecution evidence against Mr Griffin is from three witnesses who testified that Mr Griffin was at the scene.

Under cross-examination, they all admitted they were abusing heroin at the time and had given statements to gardaí in 2001 that conflicts with their later statements and evidence to the jury.

Mary Rose Gearty SC, prosecuting, told the jury that, despite these inconsistencies, it was clear the witnesses were not colluding in any conspiracy.

She said: "Is it possible that all three are lying for completely different motives?

"One thing is clear, they are not colluding together.

"People usually tell lies for a reason.

"It's completely against their interests to point the finger at Dermot Griffin. They're doing this because it's true."

Judge Patricia Ryan will charge the jury on Monday morning before sending them out to begin their deliberations.