Brothers accused of causing horrific injuries to uncle

Two brothers have gone on trial at the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee accused of recklessly or intentionally causing serious harm to their uncle at his home in Kerry almost four years ago.

The prosecution has alleged the victim suffered life-threatening injuries, including brain injury, and had a sharp object inserted into his back passage.

Tralee brothers Robert Kelly aged 32, of Ogham Rian Estate, and Tommy Kelly, aged 34, of Marian Park, both pleaded not guilty to causing serious harm to Gerald Fitzgerald at 38 Mitchels Rd, Tralee, on November 8, 2011.

Tom Rice, prosecuting, said serious harm was not a minor charge.

The jury, he said, would hear that Mr Fitzgerald was found unconscious and his jeans had been pulled down. He had suffered brain injury and a tear in his rectal wall from “a sharp object forcibly inserted into his rectum”.

He said there would be “considerable medical evidence” from doctors in Kerry General Hospital and at Cork University Hospital.

Mr Rice further stated that it was the prosecution’s case there was common design and the two men acted together.

Evidence would be called, he said, of the two nephews and uncle drinking together in the Grand Hotel in Denny St, Tralee, on the afternoon of the allegation and of being driven by a taxi-driver to an off-licence to purchase alcohol before going to the home of Mr Fitzgerald.

“Sometime shortly before 8pm, a neighbour and another man found the complainant very seriously injured and deeply unconscious. His jeans were pulled down,” Mr Rice said.

Objects including two tennis rackets, a silver scooter, and a large glass ashtray were identified in a book of photographs handed to the jury, by Garda Brendan Riordan, a scene-of-crime examiner attached to Tralee Garda Station.

Cans and glasses were on the table and blood stains were found in various parts of the house doors, the kitchen wall, washing machine, sink, and a window lintel. In the back garden there was a blood-spattered stick and a brush head, along with various blood stains on the ground, the garda said.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly yesterday gave strict instructions to the jury of seven women and five men that they are not to read newspaper reports of the trial, search the internet, or read any comment should it arise on social networking sites.

He also told them they must “act together as a single jury” and must not break into groups.

The trial could last up to three weeks.

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