Wicklow murder trial jury discharged

A jury in the trial of a Wicklow man accused of murder has failed to reach a verdict at the Central Criminal Court.

A jury in the trial of a Wicklow man accused of murder has failed to reach a verdict at the Central Criminal Court.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for nine hours and 18 minutes, but were unable to reach a decision.

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said she was left with no other option but to discharge the jury from their duty.

Richard O’Carroll (aged 33) with addresses at Greenpark Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow and Cois Sleibhe, Southern Cross Road, Bray has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Keith Fortune (aged 27) of Hazelwood Upper, Dargle Road, Bray.

Mr Fortune allegedly died as a result of an incident at the "William Dargan Inn", Goldsmith Terrace, on Quinsboro Road in Bray in the early hours of May 2, 1999. He was in the company of family celebrating the christening of a child earlier that day.

The foreman of the jury told the trial judge that they had "given it a lot of thought" but he didn’t think "any further deliberations would change anything". Ms Justice Dunne thanked the jury for their service and discharged them from duty for the next five years.

The accused man will appear again in court on January 31 for a fixed date for a new trial.

During the nine-day trial the jury heard the accused O’Carroll told gardaí when he was arrested he said he didn’t "intend to stab" the deceased allegedly saying, "It was him or me".

"Keith said something, a smart remark", O’Carroll allegedly told gardaí. "I exchanged some words with him. Then I saw the knife come out of his sleeve. I quickly head-butted him. A scuffle followed and we wrestled around with the knife and Keith got stabbed."

O'Carroll also allegedly told gardai: "I took the knife from Keith Fortune and we were still struggling. I can’t remember what happened the knife. Someone could have taken it off me."

The former partner of the accused man, Ms Stephanie Carroll, told the jury the deceased man allegedly slagged Mr O’Carroll about their Down’s Syndrome baby daughter in the pub on the night in question.

The court heard that Richard O’Carroll had an eight-month baby daughter with Down’s Syndrome at the time of killing.

The accused man’s former partner told the jury Mr Fortune asked him "how the mongo was" referring to their baby daughter on the night of the fatal stabbing.

Ms Carroll told the jury that shortly after midnight the deceased man "nodded to Richie to go out side" the pub. Ms Carroll understood this to mean that the deceased man wanted to fight with her partner.

Ms Carroll said the accused man followed Mr Fortune outside after a few minutes.

"I could see them fighting through the glass door of the pub," she told the jury.

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