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Court case Jury given option of majority verdict in Naas baseball bat murder trial

Zoltan Almasi (49) has pleaded not guilty to murdering Athy man Joseph Dunne, but guilty to his manslaughter

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A jury has been given the option of reaching a majority verdict in the trial of a man, charged with murdering a 20-year-old with one blow of a baseball bat.

Zoltan Almasi (49), a Serbian man with an address at Harbour View, Naas, Co. Kildare, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Athy man Joseph Dunne, but guilty to his manslaughter at Harbour View on May 16 2014.

The Central Criminal Court has heard that Mr Dunne died after receiving a blow to the back of his head, shattering his skull and driving the bone in towards the brain.

The trial heard that Mr Dunne had banged on Mr Almasi’s van, which was parked outside his home. The truck driver then chased Mr Dunne away with a baseball bat. He says that he didn’t realise that he had struck him with the bat until he later saw an ambulance and garda car in the area.

Justice Michael White sent the jury out to begin considering its verdict on Monday morning.

He told the 12 jurors that they had to consider a unanimous verdict until he directed otherwise.

He called them back into the courtroom on Tuesday afternoon and asked the registrar how long they had spent deliberating so far.

“Six hours and 14 minutes,” she replied.

The judge then told the jury to continue try to agree a unanimous verdict.

“But, if you cannot, the court can accept a majority verdict,” he said, explaining that the majority had to be at least 10.

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They then resumed their deliberations until being sent home for the evening.

They will return to court on Wednesday morning.

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