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'catastrophic' Jury discharged in manslaughter trial of alleged one-punch-attacker Paul O'Carroll

The trial hear O'Carroll told gardaí: 'I deeply regret hitting him and any injury I caused him'

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A judge has discharged the jury in a single punch manslaughter trial.

Vincent Kelly (45) died from a serious head injury one day after he was punched by Paul O'Carroll outside the Royal Hotel, Bray, Co Wicklow, in the early hours of June 9, 2018.

Mr O'Carroll (46) of St Peters Terrace, Bray, Co Wicklow, is on trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court charged with the unlawful killing of Mr Kelly. He has pleaded not guilty.

The trial has heard the men, who were not known to each other, were both drinking at the hotel bar on the night in question. Mr O'Carroll told gardaí he punched Mr Kelly outside the hotel after Mr Kelly was bothering him and his acquaintances in the bar and behaving in an “erratic” manner.

“I deeply regret hitting him and any injury I caused him,” Mr O'Carroll later told gardaí. Mr Kelly died after he suffered a catastrophic brain injury, the trial has heard.

After a five day trial, a legal issue arose in the absence of the jury. As a result of this, Judge Elma Sheahan discharged the jury and remanded the defendant on continuing bail to November 2 to set another date for trial.

During the trial former deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis testified that Mr Kelly died after he suffered a “catastrophic brain injury”.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Kelly likely suffered a single blow to the face which caused him to fall backwards and hit his head on the ground, the trial heard.

The court heard that two years before he died, Mr Kelly suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini stroke. He was on blood thinning medication, including aspirin, at the time of his death.

The medication Mr Kelly was on was “associated with worse clinical outcomes in head injury patients”, Dr Curtis told the trial. “The injury and the outcome of the injury is likely to be worse in somebody receiving that medication than someone who isn't,” he said.

“It makes bleeding and bruising more likely because the blood has been thinned.”

The jury heard that in June 2018, Mr O'Carroll presented himself voluntarily at a garda station with a prepared statement.

He told gardaí: “I did not mean to kill that man. On my ma and da's life, I swear it was one punch.”

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He said that he was drinking with some friends and Mr Kelly kept coming up to his group and “butting in” and saying “weird stuff”. He said they exchanged words outside the hotel and he then punched Mr Kelly.

He told gardaí: “I punched him, but only to get him away from me. I did not intend to kill or cause serious injury to Vincent Kelly.”

“That was never in my mind. I only wanted him to leave us alone.”

Mr Kelly was taken to St Vincent's Hospital. He was in a coma and was transferred to Beaumont Hospital where he underwent surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain, the court heard.

Mr Kelly suffered cardiac arrest during the operation before he was revived with CPR and moved to intensive care, Dr Curtis said. His condition deteriorated and he died in the early hours of June 10.

Traces of cocaine were found in Mr Kelly which indicated recent usage, Dr Curtis said.

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