Love rivals driven to distraction, murder trial told

The jury in the trial of a Dublin man, accused of murdering his girlfriend’s former lover, has been told it has to look at the relationship between the two men.

The jury in the trial of a Dublin man, accused of murdering his girlfriend’s former lover, has been told it has to look at the relationship between the two men.

Mark McCann, aged 32, of Virginia Drive, Finglas denies murdering Robert Rogers, aged 26, of Berryfield Road, Finglas on January 12, 2002 at Cappagh Avenue Finglas.

Michael O’Higgins, SC for the defence, said there are people who can share a partner, but "most people in our society could not countenance it".

Neither of these two men, he said, could take to the notion they had a common interest. "It drove each of them up and down the walls and to distraction".

They had been friends, he said, and this was wrecked. The Central Criminal Court has heard the fatal stabbing arose out of a rivalry between the two men for the affections of one woman, Anita Dunne.

Mr O’Higgins reminded the jury of the accused’s allegation of being constantly humiliated by Robbie Rogers. Some 48 hours before the killing, he said, Robbie came out to the front garden with a snooker cue and threatened Mark McCann.

Counsel asked the jury to look at the events leading up to the attack. He said: "The pendulum had swung back towards Mark; Robbie was red-carded."

After the incident with the snooker cue, Anita went and spent the night with Mark, he said. "Think about it. You’re a red-blooded male and that’s a devastating circumstance. All it needs is a spark for an explosive reaction," he suggested.

Mr O’Higgins said it was perfectly true to say Mark had brought a knife to the scene, but it was wrong to say it was premeditated or that he had planned to kill or stab.

"This is a person, who had been attacked 48 hours previously," he said. "You don’t have to wait until the attacker is beating you into the ground. You’re entitled to protect yourself against danger," he exclaimed.

"If a man says he’s going to come and cut you up, it is perfectly acceptable to have a knife there for the day that person arrives at your door," he added.

Members of the jury, he acknowledged, might use common sense and go to the gardaí, "but you are sitting up there; you haven’t walked the pavements at night with five children and nowhere to stay and no money in your pocket. You haven’t lived outside the system", he said.

He said that people who lead dysfunctional lives do not think logically and their thought process is not as developed. "You’re perfectly entitled to fight fire with fire," he submitted.

Mr O’Higgins pointed out that being grabbed by the throat was not a nice thing, especially for someone such as the accused who had metal plates in his body.

He explained that "in his world, he was facing annihilation. He was going to be beaten down in front of Anita".

He said his client was suffering from "last straw syndrome", a toxic mix of adrenaline and anger. He also pointed to the State Pathologist’s evidence that the one fatal knife blow was likely to have been carried out when the two men were clasping each-other like boxers.

Mr Justice Paul Carney has begun his charge to the jury of six men and six women and will complete it on Monday.

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