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Jury deliberating in trial of man who shot his uncle

David Cully
David Cully
Edward O'Connor
Edward O'Connor

The jury is deliberating in the trial of a Dublin man who shot his uncle dead but denies murdering him.

Father-of-one David Cully has admitted killing Edward O’Connor. The 41-year-old died of two gun-shot wounds to his back.

Cully of Kilshane Road, Finglas West has pleaded not guilty to murdering his uncle, but guilty to his manslaughter at Ballycoolin Road, Finglas West on December 15, 2013.

The 24-year-old claims he shot Mr O’Connor ‘in the heat of the moment’ after he commented about somebody who had made an allegation of sexual abuse against the deceased. The allegation was investigated, but the Director of Public Prosecutions had decided not to prosecute, the court heard.

The Central Criminal Court trial has heard that both men had attended an organised ‘straightener’ between two other men on the day of the killing and that Cully shot his uncle in the back after the fight.

Cully told gardai that his uncle had made a comment that had caused him to lose control.

Yesterday Mr Justice Carroll Moran presiding told the jury in his charge the issue of provocation arose in the case but he said the burden of proof was on the prosecution to prove that the accused was not provoked. He said the prosecution would have to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

He said murder can be reduced to manslaughter if there was provocation.

“Just because a person says they're provoked doesn't mean that it’s true. The credibility of the assertion is a question of fact and is to be tested by you the jury,” said the judge.

“The issue in this case is not whether or not Mr Cully killed Mr O’ Connor, it’s whether he was provoked,” he added.

The judge referred to sexual allegations made against the deceased which he said have had an effect on the O’ Connor family. He said the DPP decided not to prosecute on foot of the complaint. The late Mr O’Connor is not on trial, he said.  “That would be very wrong. But on the other hand these background elements are relevant in assessing the frame of mind of the accused,” he added.

The judge asked for a unanimous verdict. He said the jury could return a verdict of guilty of murder or not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

“This is a very said case, In fact it is appallingly tragic,” he said.

“The law puts a premium on common sense - use your common sense in coming to a decision,” he added.

The jury of seven women and five men has now spent under an hour considering its verdict and will resume its deliberations this morning.