A 19-year-old student was found guilty of conspiring to assault a teenager two years ago on the night he died from a single stab wound.
But Martin Ollo, originally from Estonia and living in Killarney for the last eight years, was cleared of conspiring to harm Stephen Lyne.
Both decisions at the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee were unanimous. Ollo, with an address at Ballydribbeen, Killarney, had pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiring with Shane Regan, since deceased, on consecutive nights — June 16/17 and June 17/18 — to assault Mr Lyne, causing him harm.
Mr Lyne’s body was found on a grass margin yards from his home at Castle Falls at around 1.30am on June 18, 2009.
From the outset, it was claimed at the trial it was Regan, then also 17, who had stabbed Mr Lyne, in the back at Scrahan Mews in the mistaken belief Mr Lyne had raped girls, including Regan’s then-girlfriend, Jessica Klok.
But at trial, Ms Klok recanted the rape allegation against Mr Lyne, dismissing it as “a disgusting lie”.
Much of the trial focussed on the character of Regan, who died a year ago after falling down stairs. Regan had never been charged in relation to Mr Lyne’s death.
The trial also heard from a postmortem report Mr Lyne died from a single stab wound 11.5cm in depth, which cut through his kidney and spleen and arteries. No alcohol or drugs were found in toxicology tests.
Ollo was not a murder suspect and, before Mr Regan died, had been described as “a significant witness” in a murder investigation by a senior garda in a Killarney court in 2009, the court heard.
An attack on the first night was foiled when Mr Lyne’s parents arrived at Scrahan Mews after learning their son was being “set up”, the trial was told.
On the night of June 17/18, Ollo, Regan and Mr Lyne went to Scrahan Mews to smoke cannabis. Ollo told the trial he did not know Regan had a knife.
Ollo claimed he was preparing to roll a joint when Regan struck Mr Lyne in the back, and chased him onto the Ross Road. Ollo fled the scene.
Both prosecution and defence agreed Ollo did not participate in the attack. Prosecutor Tom Rice said Ollo’s role was in planning and he was “to lure” Mr Lyne to Scrahan Mews on both nights to be beaten by Regan. This was denied by Ollo.
Defence counsel John O’Sullivan maintained from the outset his client was being put on trial because he was the last man standing.
It was only after Regan’s death that charges were brought against Ollo, Mr O’Sullivan said.
Ollo was released on bail and will be sentenced on Mar 20.
Judge Moran excused the jury from service for three years.
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