Manslaughter and arson conviction overturned

Sat, Jan 19, 2013, 00:00

The Court of Criminal Appeal has overturned a man’s conviction for the manslaughter of a woman who died in a house fire in Co Tipperary almost six years ago. His conviction on counts of arson was also quashed.

The three-judge court has ordered a retrial in the case of Jason Murphy (39), Elm Park, Clonmel.

Mr Murphy was convicted at Clonmel Circuit Criminal Court in March 2010 of the manslaughter of Ann-Marie O’Neill (50) at Elm Park in the early hours of April 27th, 2007. He was also convicted of two counts of arson.

Mr Murphy argued the convictions were unsafe on grounds including that the trial judge – Judge Thomas Teehan – inadequately charged the jury concerning certain statements put before them.

The appeal court, comprising Mr Justice Liam McKechnie, presiding, and sitting with Mr Justice Daniel O’Keeffe and Mr Justice Michael White, agreed Mr Murphy’s conviction should be set aside and ordered a retrial.

Mr Justice McKechnie said that while the court did not attach fault to any party, the trial was unsatisfactory.