Cleared of Dublin man's murder in Offaly in 2003


A man has been acquitted of murdering a Dublin man in Co Offaly nine years ago. Darren Byrne (38) had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Paul Ryan (27) at Coolderry, Birr, on April 12th, 2003.

Mr Byrne, no fixed abode, had also pleaded not guilty to possession of a sawn-off shotgun with intent to endanger life at that location on the same date.

It was alleged by the prosecution that Mr Byrne shot Mr Ryan in the back of the head at close range in a remote gateway.

The jury of seven men and five women returned a majority verdict of not guilty on both counts after two hours and 44 minutes of deliberation.

Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan thanked the jurors before excusing them from further service for a period of five years.

The judge told the jury it would be wrong to find Mr Byrne guilty solely because he was involved in drugs at the time.