Murder who stabbed his victim over 100 times to appeal conviction

David Whyte
David Whyte

A convicted murder who stabbed his victim more than 100 times in the ruins of an old Dublin church has moved to appeal his conviction.

Criostóir MacCárthaigh (38), of An Gleann, Palmerstown, had pleaded not guilty to murdering David Whyte (35) in Dublin between Sept 24 and 26, 2008 by stabbing him more than 100 times.

A jury at the Central Criminal Court unanimously found MacCárthaigh guilty of murder and he was given the mandatory life sentence by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy on February 19 2013.

The jury heard that Criostóir MacCárthaigh had been drinking in a flat in Phibsborough on the night of the killing and that he had stabbed the deceased ‘to pieces’ in the ruin of an old church.

MacCárthaigh moved to appeal his conviction today on grounds that the trial judge erred in allowing certain material to go before the jury.

Counsel for MacCárthaigh, Diarmaid McGuinness SC, said his client's answer to a garda question on how his DNA ended up on the deceased's trousers should not have been regarded as a failure or refusal to answer the question.

This coupled with “the invisible knife” a witness assumed MacCárthaigh had earlier in the evening and evidence of a Special Criminal Court conviction MacCárthaigh had for possession of explosives must have been “incredibly prejudicial”, counsel said.

It was materially destructive of MacCárthaigh's character when he hadn't given any evidence himself, Mr McGuinness said.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Paul Burns SC, said whether or not MacCarthaigh had engaged with the question put to him by gardaí was a matter of fact for the jury to determine.

If the answer was capable of amounting to a failure or refusal to engage with the question, Mr Burns said it must go to the jury and they must decide if they can draw inferences from it.

Mr Burns said the trial judge held that MacCarthaigh's answer did amount to a refusal but he left the question of fact to the jury.

Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, said the three-judge court would reserve judgment to a date “as soon as is feasible”.