Jury considers verdict in Tallaght manslaughter trial

Monday 19 May 2014 17.11
Stephen Hughes was 12 when he died in the fire in 2001
Stephen Hughes was 12 when he died in the fire in 2001

The jury in the trial of a man accused of starting a fire in which a young boy died will resume its deliberations tomorrow.

Stephen Hughes was 12 years old when he died in the fire in the den where he had been sleeping with his friend 13 years ago.

Dermot Griffin, 54, of Ballyfermot Road, Ballyfermot has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to manslaughter at Rossfield Avenue, Tallaght, Dublin on 1 September 2001.

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 which conflicts with their later statements and evidence to the jury.

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

But defence counsel Bernard Condon described the prosecution case as the "ultimate pick and mix case".

He told the jury that this was a "great, great tragedy" but said they must park their sympathy and act in a dispassionate way.

They should not allow their immense sympathy for the loss of the young boy to influence their assessment of the evidence, he said.

Judge Patricia Ryan charged the jury morning.