A bar manager and a barman employed by Hayes Hotel in Thurles, Co Tipperary, have pleaded not guilty to the unlawful killing an Englishman, who died from acute alcoholic poisoning at the hotel in June 2008.

Nenagh Circuit Court heard today that the victim, Graham Parish, who was a guest at the hotel, at one stage drank between eight and ten spirits in a pint glass before slumping to the floor.

Gary Wright, who was a bar manager at Hayes Hotel, and barman Aidan Dalton, both with addresses at Kilfithmone, Borrisoleigh, Co Tipperary, were working in the bar at Hayes Hotel on the day in question.

Mr Parish, who was from Lancashire, was staying at the hotel, as he was working in the Thurles locality. He was joined in the bar at around 7pm by a number of others from England who knew him and were also working in the area.

The group drank heavily that night as it was discovered it was Graham Parish's 26th birthday. At one stage, a party trick or challenge arose in which the victim said he could down a number of spirits in a glass quicker that the others could drink a half pint of lager.

Witness Greg Bateson, who was in the group, said he saw the glass of spirits being served by the barman and was taken aback at the speed with which Graham Parish drank it.

He drank the glass of spirits very quickly, Mr Bateson said, after which he slumped to the floor. The victim was then carried to a room upstairs, where the witness said they left him snoring.

When Mr Parish was checked on by a night porter Philip Mahoney at around 6am the next morning, Mr Mahoney noticed the victim had vomited and could not be awoken.

The emergency services were called, but Mr Parish was declared dead at around 7.15am. The pathology report showed he died from acute alcoholic poisoning.

State Counsel Patrick McCarthy told the jury this was a case of manslaughter by gross negligence; negligence to a very high degree involving the likelihood of substantial risk of injury to the victim.

Both accused men had a duty of care to the victim and both dispensed drink to him in circumstances in which they should not have done given the amount of drink already taken, Mr McCarthy said.

The trial before a jury of six men and six women and Judge Tom Teehan is likely to continue into next week.