Insanity verdict in Bantry fire case

A MAN who was found not guilty, by reason of insanity, of setting fire to a neighbour’s house in Bantry was committed to the Central Mental Hospital for treatment by court order.

John O’Donoghue, 45, of Caherdaniel West, Bantry, Co Cork, was put on trial by judge and jury on a charge of arson.

The particulars of the charge were that he caused damage by fire to the home of Margaret O’Leary being reckless as to whether the life of another was endangered. €250,000 was the amount of damage as the house was destroyed.

The matter was back before Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday for Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin’s final determination on the issue of whether or not to direct his committal.

The judge said if a package of out-patient measures were available for the treatment of O’Donoghue outside hospital he would have directed that.

Judge Ó Donnabháin said it was a most unusual and difficult case where the most problematic aspect of it was to decide where Mr O’Donoghue should be treated once the jury made its determination.

In the end the judge said he was satisfied John O’Donoghue was in need of medical care.


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