Corkman accused of killing man at a bar with single punch

A 28-year-old Kanturk man facing a charge of unlawfully killing a 65-year-old local man in a single punch attack at a bar in the town in 2016 admitted to a judge and jury that he did assault the man but suggested he was was not guilty of manslaughter.

The injured party died 14 days later in hospital.

A jury of three women and nine men was sworn in at Cork Circuit Criminal Court today to hear the case before Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin.

Finbarr Lehane died in hospital a fortnight after being struck at the Stand Bar in Kanturk after midnight on October 23/24, 2016.

Jonathan O’Sullivan from Kanturk, but now living at Birchfield Park, Goatstown, Dublin, was arraigned in front of a jury on the single charge of unlawful killing.

He replied that he was not guilty of manslaughter but guilty of assault. The charge was that on November 7, 2016, at The Stand Bar, The Square, Kanturk, he unlawfully killed Finbarr Lehane.

Imelda Kelly, prosecution barrister, gave the jury an outline of the anticipated evidence saying the defendant and the deceased were both out socialising in that bar in Kanturk and into the early hours of the morning.

She said both of them had consumed a large amount of alcohol and she said, “Alcohol is certainly a feature of this case.”

She said there was a single punch to the face and the late Mr Lehane fell backwards, hit the ground and lost consciousness. He died 14 days later in hospital.

Liz Angland, who was working in the bar that night, told gardaí:

He hit the ground with an unmerciful crack.

The accused man, Jonathan O’Sullivan told gardaí that the deceased had been “talking ramesh” into his ear at the counter of the bar.

“I decided to go out the back. I don’t know what happened. I just drew a punch,” the accused said when interviewed later by Detective Garda Anthony Daly. In another interview, he said the deceased was “talking shite”.

Mary Rose Gearty defence senior counsel referred to the fact that the accused was weeping throughout the interview with gardaí and that this was only a day after the incident and a long time before Mr Lehane died in hospital.

The case continues tomorrow.

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