A convicted murderer who assaulted a barrister during his trial plans to conduct his own appeal because he cannot find a lawyer to represent him, the Court of Appeal was told on Friday.
Vesel Jahiri (40) was sentenced to life imprisonment after he was found guilty by a Central Criminal Court jury of the murder of the mother of his two children, Anna Finnegan (25), at Allendale Glen, Clonsilla, Dublin 15, on September 21st, 2012.
Following the trial in April 2017, jurors also found him guilty of stabbing Anna's brother Karl Finnegan in the chest and head during the same attack. Jahiri had pleaded not guilty to both charges.
The trial had been disrupted after Jahiri, who is originally from Kosovo, assaulted the prosecutor.
Jahiri, who had earlier dismissed his legal team to represent himself, leapt across the benches and punched Patrick Marrinan SC in the face before being wrestled to the ground by prison officers and removed from the court.
When the trial resumed, the accused was accompanied by four prison officers dressed in full riot gear as he was brought back into court.
Jahiri has since appealed his conviction.
On Friday, at the Court of Appeal, he was flanked by three prison guards when he informed Court President Mr Justice George Birmingham that he was planning to represent himself at his forthcoming appeal hearing because he could not find a lawyer willing to take the case.
“I tried to get a solicitor but failed. I was unsuccessful,” Jahiri told the judge when his case was called for mention at the appellate court.
Mr Justice Birmingham responded by saying that there were “thousands” of solicitors available on the legal aid panel, and he found it hard to believe that the appellant could not find representation.
Adjourning the matter until July 25th to give Jahiri more time to locate a lawyer, Mr Justice Birmingham told him he would be “unwise” to represent himself.
“Criminal law is complex and you would be strongly advised to get a solicitor,” the judge said.
The jury in Jahiri’s trial deliberated for just under seven hours before returning unanimous guilty verdicts of murder and assault.
During the trial, the court was told Ms Finnegan had endured years of physical abuse from her killer when she sought safety at a women's refuge along with the couple’s two children.
She had been with her brother in the kitchen of her home when Jahiri broke down the front door of the house and attacked them both with a knife.
Ms Finnegan died from her injuries a short time later in hospital.