Main witness in murder trial to be sentenced for stabbing alleged killer's cousin

Main witness in murder trial to be sentenced for stabbing alleged killer's cousin

The principal witness in a murder trial is to be sentenced for stabbing the cousin of the alleged killer.

Stephen Kenny (27) gave evidence in a trial last year that he saw his brother Kevin stabbed to death following a row outside a Inchicore pub. The accused, Craig O'Halloran, was later acquitted.

Today Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that on the day Craig O'Halloran was charged with the murder in 2013, Kenny attacked and stabbed his cousin Graham O'Halloran.

Kenny, of O'Hogan Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin pleaded guilty to assault causing harm at Decies Road, Ballyfermot on January 13, 2013. He has six previous convictions including one for violent disorder.

Judge Sarah Berkeley said she would need time to consider a sentence and remanded Kenny on bail until next Wednesday.

The court heard Kenny had lost two brothers to murder. In 2005 his brother Martin was shot dead as he lay in bed with his girlfriend. A short time before this killing men called to the Kenny family home looking for Martin. Stephen Kenny, who was aged 15 at the time, answered the door and was slashed in the face.

John Byrne BL, defending, told Judge Berkeley that Kenny's attack would normally merit a jail term. However, he asked her to consider his client's tragic background and a probation report which said Kenny was struggling to deal with his grief.

Mr Byrne also submitted that the assault victim was a reluctant witness and had to be threatened with jail to come to court. He said this would have made a trial very difficult, meaning Kenny's guilty plea was of great value to the prosecution.

Prosecuting counsel Derek Cooney BL said Kenny attacked O'Halloran with a knife on the street shortly after Craig O'Halloran was charged with the murder of Kevin Kenny.

Graham O'Halloran was left with stab wounds to his hand and scalp. Doctors later had to reattach a tendon in his hand but there was no long-term damage. Kenny was arrested in a nearby house by armed gardai.

Kenny's barrister said he was under huge pressure at the time in the "close-knit community" of Ballyfermot as it was known he would serve as the main witness in any murder trial.

He said there was "some taunting" between Kenny and Graham O'Halloran which caused Kenny to "lose it" and stab the victim.

Counsel said there is no longer any tension between the two men. He added Kenny now had a partner and child and as well as a realistic offer of employment.

Conor Gallagher