Court accedes to defence team for murder accused

Brendan Nix told the court that a member of the Dundon family contacted John Devane solicitors on Tuesday and asked the Limerick firm to come on record for the accused man.

Counsel said he knew nothing about the case but had no difficulty in coming on board. He told the court he needed to go through the brief and had agreed with his instructing solicitors that different parties would each go through a third of the roughly 10,000 pages.

Mr Nix said that if the court saw fit to allow him come on board, there would be no “messing around” and that he would not be party to any “obfuscation.”

Tom O’Connell, prosecuting, told the court that the prosecution wanted the case to begin as it had been “going on since April” and “many attempts” had been made to frustrate the trial taking place.

He said the family of the late Shane Geoghegan had been present in court each day and were anxious that the case go ahead.

Mr O’Connell said the State’s case ultimately depended on three important witnesses, April Collins, Lisa Collins, and Christopher McCarthy, whose lives were under threat.

He said an adjournment in the trial ordinarily would not present a difficulty, but given the circumstances of this case, the prosecution was “very, very anxious” for it to start.

Mr O’Connell suggested that the case open yesterday and adjourn until Monday.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said that, notwithstanding what had transpired in court, it was desirable in the “wider interests of justice” for Mr Dundon to have legal representation.

He said this would both render the trial proceedings more efficient and provide assistance to the court.

Mr Justice Kearns said the court would accede to the application to have Mr Devane come on record and appoint two counsel.

The non-jury court heard evidence from Dr Peadar Gilligan, a who examined Mr Dundon after his admittance to Beaumont Hospital yesterday afternoon.

Dr Gilligan told Mr O’Connell that there was no movement of Mr Dundon’s limbs but there was “some inconsistency” with regard to the tone.

He said when he lifted the accused man’s hands above his head, they dropped in an “unusual manner” for someone deeply unconscious.

He said there were two wounds to the scalp at the back of the head, one of 1cm and one of less than half a centimetre, with no associated bruising or deformity.

After administering glucose and a saline flush, Dr Gilligan said he assessed Mr Dundon’s reflexes and found them to be normal. He said the accused man would not co-operate with a co-ordination test.

Dr Gilligan told Mr O’Connell his assessment was that Mr Dundon presented with a “psychogenic coma”.

He said he did not find any concerning medical causes for the coma and that the two superficial wounds to the back of the head were glued closed.

Dr Gilligan said that Mr Dundon was discharged back to the care of Portlaoise Prison at about 4.30pm yesterday.

Asked by Mr Justice Kearns if he had any idea what might have caused the injury, Dr Gilligan said it was “always difficult to say” when the collapse was not witnessed, but there was no evidence of bruising and the wounds were “very superficial”.

He told Mr Justice Kearns that on the basis of his assessment, there was no medical reason why the accused could not take part in court proceedings.

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