A 42-year-old Dublin man who got involved in a fight to protect his friend has been acquitted of the murder of a father-of-two by a jury at the Central Criminal Court today.
The jury of seven women and five men took just less than two hours to find Peter Dolan of Tulip Court, Darndale not guilty of murdering Raymond Brown, during a disturbance at Clonshaugh Drive in Coolock on April 2, 2005.
They also found Mr Dolan not guilty of assaulting Emmett Taaffe on the same occasion.
During the trial, the jury heard that that the night's events started at around midnight on April 1.
Tone Taaffe, younger brother of Emmett Taaffe, returned early from work to discover some teenagers had gathered outside his house and had earlier behaved in a threatening manner towards his father-in-law.
Mr Taaffe went to chase the youths away with a baseball bat but was himself attacked and hit in the head with a crutch.
Mr Taaffe called Emmett, who had spent the night at a local GAA club benefit with his friend, the deceased man. Emmett called another brother, Padraig, who came to collect him and Mr Brown.
After a brief stops to check the situation and then to collect one or more baseball bats and Celtic "monkey" hats from Padraig's house, they drove to Clonshaugh drive near their brother's house where they saw a group of teenagers that included someone with crutches.
When the car screeched to a halt, Emmett Taaffe and Mr Brown got out of the car walked towards the group. One or both of them was carrying a bat.
Mr Taaffe told the court that he was swinging the bat around him indiscriminately and was trying to hit as many people as possible in punishment for the earlier attack on his brother.
One of the teenagers he hit was Gary Courtney, who had not been involved in the earlier incident with Tone Taaffe.
Mr Dolan had spent the evening in his local pub with his wife and his friend Noel Courtney, Gary Courtney's father. As they were walking home at closing time they came across the fighting.
Mr Courtney went to defend his son. When he in turn was attacked, Mr Dolan ran into the nearby house.
He told gardaí he was looking for "a pole, golf clubs, anything". Unable to fund a suitable weapon he grabbed a knife by the sink in the kitchen and went back outside.
Mr Brown died the following day in hospital. He had been stabbed three times in his left side. Mr Taaffe also required treatment for a slash to his arm.
When the verdict was read out Mr Brown's family, who had sat silently through the whole trial, started to cry and there was some shouting at the accused from the public gallery.
Mr Dolan put his face in his hands and mouthed "thank you" at the jury.
Mr Justice Paul Carney thanked the jury for their careful attention and exempted them from further jury service for life.