Pair found not guilty of student’s death

A jury has found a man and woman not guilty of the manslaughter of a student who died on New Year’s Day 2012.

Pair found not guilty of student’s death

Jessica Hughes, aged 21, of Greenfield Heights, Rathwire, Killucan, Co Westmeath, and Patrick Daly, aged 24, Mulphedder, Clonard, Co Meath, both denied manslaughter.

The jury acquitted them on the manslaughter charge but found Daly guilty of assault causing harm and Hughes guilty of assault in relation to an attack on Andrew Dolan.

Mr Dolan, aged 20, a biomedical student from Carrick-on-Shannon, was fatally injured during an assault on Pearse St, Mullingar, on Dec 23, 2011. He died in Beaumont Hospital on Jan 1, 2012.

Judge Anthony Hunt thanked the jury for their diligence and exempted them from jury duty for 10 years. He described Mr Dolan as “a young man with considerable promise” and noted “there is a grieving family”.

Judge Hunt labelled the altercation which led to Mr Dolan’s death as a “very unpleasant scene which happens all too frequently”.

If people came to court to see the consequences of such behaviour on the streets it might give them pause for thought, the judge added.

Earlier in the day, the jury heard evidence Mr Dolan had pleaded “don’t hit me, please don’t hit me”, during the altercation.

The trial was told the two accused were in Abrakebabra in Mullingar with Patrick Farrell at 2.40am on the night of Dec 23.

An alleged comment led to an altercation outside which ended in Mr Dolan receiving a serious head injury as a result of being knocked to the ground by Farrell, who has since pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

The prosecution failed to prove the accused embarked on a joint enterprise with Mr Farrell which led to Mr Dolan’s manslaughter.

The jury began deliberating on Tuesday afternoon and requested evidence from a number of civilian witnesses be replayed yesterday.

It included the evidence of Aidan Conroy, a bar manager who was present on Pearse St when the assault occurred. He said: “I heard a lad shouting in the middle of the street. He was shouting ‘don’t hit me, please don’t hit me’.”

Mr Conroy was metres from Mr Dolan when he fell. He called it an “unmerciful blow” which left him shocked and sickened.

Another witness, Shane Daly, recalled Mr Dolan backing away.

“His hands were down so you could tell he was never in a situation like that before,” he said.

During the altercation, he witnessed “the female came in, threw a couple of slaps” before stepping back and “holding back the guy who was originally fighting”.

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