Man who successfully appealed murder conviction pleads guilty to manslaughter

CourtsBy Sunday World
Man who successfully appealed murder conviction pleads guilty to manslaughter

A Limerick man who successfully appealed against his conviction for the murder of his partner has today pleaded guilty to her manslaughter.

In March 2007, Kieran Lynch (49) was sentenced to life in prison by Mr Justice Paul Carney having been found guilty by a Central Criminal Court jury of the murder of his partner Catherine McEnery.

Lynch, who is a native of Askeaton in Co Limerick, had pleaded not guilty at a Galway sitting of the Central Criminal Court to the murder in Craughwell, Co Galway in July 2005.

Kieran Lynch and Catherine McEnery had been living together for ten years and moved into a traditional cottage known as 'Rose Cottage' in Craughwell in June 2005. On July 17, Ms McEnery was found dead in a bedroom in the cottage.

Lynch brought an appeal against his conviction in December 2013. His barrister, Mr Giollaiosa O Lideadha SC, told the Court of Criminal Appeal that the appeal focused on two issues, the first being the issue of the trial judge's charge to the jury on provocation while the other was a motion to introduce fresh evidence in to the case.

Mr O Lideadha said the former was the "priority issue" and came down to a crucial exchange between the jury foreman and Mr Justice Carney in which the jury were misdirected as to the law on provocation and intent.

With regard to the fresh evidence in the case, Mr O Lideadha told the court there was evidence that Lynch had a near-drowning experience and was given medication of a particularly high dosage shortly before the killing.

In July 2015, Mr Justice Donal O'Donnell, presiding at the appeal court, quashed the conviction of Lynch for the murder of his partner at their home in Craughwell, Co Galway, in July 2005.

The Court of Criminal Appeal granted Lynch an appeal against his conviction after finding that the trial judge's response to questions from the jury concerning provocation, while "entirely well meant", were "misconceived and confusing".

A retrial was ordered and today, Lynch was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Ms McEnery.

This plea was accepted by the DPP and Lynch was remanded in custody on the same conditions.

Today Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy directed a probation report for when Lynch will be sentenced on July 18.

Alison O'Riordan