Dundon brought from court to hospital with head injury
Man on trial for murder of Shane Geoghegan sacks his legal team
A file image of John Dundon pictured outside Limerick District Court.
The opening day of the trial of John Dundon for the murder of Garryowen rugby player Shane Geoghegan saw the accused man taken to hospital for a head injury after earlier informing the court he was illiterate in response to evidence that he had sacked his legal team and elected to represent himself.
A gaunt, wheelchair-bound Mr Dundon appeared this morning for arraignment at the non-jury Special Criminal Court, which heard the accused man had dismissed his legal representatives last week.
In June the court heard the accused man informed prison authorities on May 30th last that he was going on hunger and thirst strike.
However, Mr Dundon did not appear for the scheduled opening of the murder trial this afternoon after evidence was heard he had cut his head after fainting in his cell and was being brought to hospital.
Assistant chief officer Peter Kelly told Mr Tom O’Connell SC, prosecuting, that at lunchtime today the call system was activated in the cell where Mr Dundon and another man, Nathan Killeen (23), were being held.
The Portlaoise prison officer said Mr Killeen informed him Mr Dundon had fainted and cut his head.
Mr Kelly said that when he entered the cell he noticed Mr Dundon lying on the floor with a small cut on his head.
He told Mr O’Connell that he notified the chief prison officer, moved Mr Killeen to a secure area, assessed Mr Dundon’s breathing and put him in the correct position.
Mr Kelly said that Mr Dundon was currently being assessed by paramedics from Dublin Fire Brigade and it was proposed to take him to hospital for further medical checks.
He told Mr O’Connell there was no CCTV footage of the cell itself but there was CCTV coverage of an adjacent corridor.
Mr Kelly confirmed no other person other than Nathan Killeen had access to the cell at lunch time.
Prosecution counsel told the court that he proposed to call medical evidence tomorrow morning (Wednesday) that may assist in assessing what had occurred and whether the accused man had sought to frustrate the criminal process and harm himself.
Presiding judge Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said the non-jury court would not make any assessment until the medical evidence was heard. He said the trial would be adjourned until tomorrow morning when medical evidence would be heard as to the nature of the injury and its causation.
Earlier today, barrister Martin O’Rourke told the court Mr Dundon had informed Madden & Finucane solicitors he was withdrawing his instructions from them and that he wished to “conduct proceedings” on his own behalf.