The eight women and four men of the jury in the Boreenmanna Road murder trial deliberated throughout today and so far have not reached a verdict.
They began their deliberations at 11.33, broke for lunch and were asked by the trial judge to come back to court at 4.33 p.m.. Mr Justice Paul McDermott then asked them if they wished to continue with their deliberations or to return tomorrow (March 31). They indicated that they would take the overnight break.
They will resume their deliberations at 10.30 a.m. on March 31 in this trial of a Romanian national accused of murdering a 64-year-old Cork man whose dismembered body was found on the grounds of a derelict house at Boreenmanna Road in Cork during Christmas 2019 have just commenced their deliberations at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.
Ionut Cosmin Nicholescu, 30, with an address at Branistea Village, Damovita County, Romania, denies the single count of murder. He was put on trial on March 13 charged with the murder of Francis (Frankie) Dunne. The count states that on a date unknown between December 27 and December 28 2019, he murdered Francis Dunne at Castlegreine House, Boreenamanna Road, Cork, contrary to Common Law.
Prosecution senior counsel Ray Boland said to the jury,
"The state has proved its case that the accused murdered Frankie Dunne and I invite you to convict.”
He submitted to the jury that the accused man murdered Mr Dunne by first striking him with a glass bottle and then strangling him. He said that the dismemberment occurred afterwards as ‘a work in progress’ for disposing of the remains.
Philipp Rahn, senior counsel for the defence said to the jurors, “Look at Mr Nicholescu himself – the lack of any reason or motive. It is unlikely, what the prosecution are saying. There is a very significant forensic problem with the unidentified fingerprint (on the plastic bag containing clothing of the deceased man). You have lots and lots of material out of the garda investigation but you cannot be satisfied that there are no relevant questions unanswered. There has to be a reasonable doubt. That threshold of beyond reasonable doubt has not been crossed. The prosecution narrative is not the only one.” Mr Rahn said that if they accepted his account that Nicholescu arrived on the scene where two armed men stood over the deceased and compelled the accused to move the remains, then the verdict had to be not guilty. Similarly, they had to find him not guilty if his account was reasonably possible. And finally, even if they did not accept his account, they could still find him not guilty if they were not satisfied that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Mr Justice McDermott said, “You have to consider all the evidence very carefully. I can only accept a unanimous verdict. You can bring in a verdict of guilty of murder or not guilty of murder. If the prosecution established beyond reasonable doubt that he committed the killing but did not intend it you can find him not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter. The way the evidence has been presented to you (by the defence) is that he did not kill him.”