Jury mulls verdict in hotel gas death trial

The jury in the trial of a plumber accused of the gas leak manslaughter of a young woman staying at the Trident hotel in Kinsale for a hen party almost four years ago deliberated throughout yesterday without reaching a verdict on any of the five charges.

The three women and nine men of the jury will return to Cork Circuit Criminal Court to resume their deliberations today.

Richard Davis, aged 46, from Serenity, Killanully, Ballygarvan, Co Cork, is on trial for manslaughter of Miriam Reidy and two breaches of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.

Davis’s company, Davis Heating and Plumbing Contractors of Marina Commercial Park in Cork, is charged with two similar breaches of the safety act relating to the conversion of a gas boiler at the Trident on January 4, 2011. All charges are denied.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin made his closing remarks to the jurors yesterday before sending them out to commence their deliberations after 11am.

The judge said documents and exhibits put into evidence by both sides were of great importance in this case from the point of view of the jury’s consideration of the five charges.

“A critical part of the State’s case revolves around statements. A critical part of the defence case revolves around exhibits, what I would call a mock-up of the safety frame.

“It is import you would take your time with it. If there are two views of the evidence, one favour the prosecution and one favouring the defence adopt the view of the defence unless the prosecution satisfied you beyond a reasonable doubt.

“It is part of the State’s case that the man told a lie. Interviewed, first he said this is what I did, I put it in accordance with the instructions and used the Kane analyser (to test for carbon monoxide emissions) afterwards, hunky dory. But subsequently he told the guards and Mr Siddons (prosecution expert), he said, no, no, that wasn’t it.

“There are many reasons people tell fibs to the guards. He offered an explanation — I convinced myself that I must have used it — and he offered the guards his Kane analyser so that would have shown up straight away that he did not use it.”

Pathologist Margaret Bolster concluded that the young woman at the hen party died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Richard Davis did not give evidence in the trial but his interviews with gardaí were read to the jury where he said: “My only crime is that I work too hard and take people at their word. I was told it was an easy chip conversion, that is why I went ahead and converted.

“I accept now I got the wrong information from my supplier. I am extremely sorry for the hurt I caused to everyone involved.”


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