Murder trial falls over top medic’s evidence

The family of a man found dead with multiple injuries have been left with questions after the trial of the man accused of murdering him collapsed over doubts about evidence from a deputy State pathologist.

Murder trial falls over top medic’s evidence

Mr Justice Barry White told a jury at the Central Criminal Court that “certain concerns” had arisen relating to the medical opinion of Khalid Jabbar.

He said this related to Dr Jabbar’s opinion as to the “mechanism of death” in the case before them.

Mr Justice White made his comments two weeks into the trial of Michael Furlong, aged 36, who was charged with murdering Patrick Connors, aged 37, in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, in Apr 2011.

The two men had been drinking together in Mr Furlong’s apartment and Mr Connors was found dead with face and head wounds, including apparent knife cuts, in a stairwell of the apartment complex the next morning.

Mr Furlong denied murdering or assaulting Mr Connors, whom he regarded as a friend, and in evidence said he could not explain how the injuries to the deceased occurred except to suggest that he might have stumbled on the stairs and fallen.

The court heard last week that Mr Furlong’s defence team were calling as a witness former assistant State pathologist Declan Gilsenan to challenge Dr Jabbar’s finding that Mr Connors’ death was due to his head injuries, with alcohol as a contributing factor.

However, Mr Justice White adjourned the trial last week saying some matters needed to be clarified with Dr Jabbar. Yesterday, he discharged the jury and ordered the case be listed for retrial.

The State Pathologist’s Office declined to take queries about the matter yesterday and the Department of Justice would not say if it would be investigating the cause of the trial’s collapse or seeking an internal inquiry within the State Pathologist’s Office.

In a statement, the department said: “As it is our understanding that the matter is still before the courts, it would not be appropriate for the department to comment.”

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