Limerick man has murder conviction overturned
A Limerick man jailed for life six years ago has had his conviction for murder quashed on the basis that his trial was unsatisfactory.
Kevin Coughlan (32), with a last address at Avondale Drive, Greystones, Limerick, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Francis Greene at Steamboat Quay on a date unknown between November 28 and 29 2009.
He was found guilty by a jury at the Central Criminal Court and was given the mandatory life sentence by Mr Justice Patrick J McCarthy on December 22 2011.
Moving an appeal against conviction in March, counsel for Coughlan, Anthony Sammon SC, submitted to the Court of Appeal that the trial was unsatisfactory because of Dr Khalid Jabber's evidence, the then Deputy State Pathologist.
The court heard that Dr Jabber changed his conclusion on the cause of death during the trial.
Dr Jabber had said prior to the trial that there was a possibility that the deceased drowned. But during the course of his testimony he came to the conclusion that the deceased was dead before he got into the water and he had been strangled.
Mr Sammon said his side should not have been put in the position of having to "cobble together a defence" during the course of a trial.
The Court of Appeal stated today that Coughlan's trial had been rendered unsatisfactory.
President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice Seán Ryan, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice John Edwards, quashed the murder conviction and substituted it for manslaughter under the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993.
The court made no criticisms of the prosecution or the trial judge.
Coughlan was remanded in custody to Monday next to appear before the Central Criminal Court for sentencing.