A jury took less than an hour to reach unanimous not guilty verdicts in the case against a 29-year-old man who was put on trial on an accusation of standing over the bed of a mother of three in Carrigaline tapping a knife against her leg.
The nine men and three women of the jury returned to Cork Circuit Criminal Court with their unanimous not guilty verdicts.
Jamie McKenzie always denied the accusation, saying in direct evidence during his trial, “It’s a lie.” He was cleared on the charges of aggravated burglary while armed with a knife at a house in Carrigaline on March 28 2020, threatening to kill the woman living there and falsely imprisoning her.
At the outset of the trial before Judge Helen Boyle and the jury on Tuesday, there was a fourth charge against McKenzie.
That charge was one of obstructing Garda Tony Devane when gardaí went to the house at Kingswood, Waterpark, Carrigaline, where he was staying at the time in order to arrest him on the aggravated burglary and related charges.
After the commencement of the trial, defence senior counsel Seamus Roche asked for McKenzie to be re-arraigned on that obstruction charge and he pleaded guilty.
Once cleared of the more serious charges the only remaining matter was sentencing on the obstruction. Judge Boyle imposed a three-month suspended sentence.
The defendant then left court with his parents. He apologised for obstruction. He spent over four months remanded in custody last year following an objection to bail being granted to him on the more serious charges.
Detective Garda Margaret Ryan outlined in court that the nature of the obstruction was that armed gardaí went to the house and announced themselves clearly.
He had previous convictions including eight for public order offences and one for burglary.
During the trial, he said he called to the house, tapped lightly at the door and the complainant quickly came to the door and let him in. He said they started chatting for a while but that later he claimed she said that another person had claimed he (McKenzie) had robbed a bicycle. The defendant told the jury this was the first he had heard of anything like that.
The complainant had claimed that he came into the house uninvited, with a knife, tapped her leg with it and that at various stages he was shouting, held a knife to her cheek and threatened to kill her.
“None of them things are true,” the defendant said.
He denied other allegations made against him including that he chased her dog around the house.
He said that he raised the allegation that she was seeing her boyfriend and another man at the same time and that she should be careful in that regard.
He said that when he said that, “She just went off on one. I said, ‘Right, I’m out of here’.”
He later said under cross-examination, “There is no big story to this. That is just what it was.”
The address on the charge sheets for the 29-year-old was Dun Eoin, Carrigaline. He said he was staying with his girlfriend at Kingswood at the time and is now living in Skibbereen.