Two brothers on trial for causing serious harm to uncle

Robert and Tommy Kelly pleaded not guilty to causing harm to Gerald Fitzgerald

Two brothers have gone on trial at the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee accused of recklessly or intentionally causing serious harm to their uncle at his home in Tralee in 2011.

The prosecution will allege the man had suffered life-threatening injuries, including brain injury and a sharp object having been inserted into his back passage, Tom Rice prosecutor, said yesterday.

Robert Kelly (32), of Ogham Rian Estate, Tralee and Tommy Kelly (34), of Marian Park, Tralee, both pleaded not guilty to causing serious harm to Gerald Fitzgerald at Mitchels Road, Tralee, on November 8th, 2011.

Mr Rice said serious harm was not a minor charge and the bar was very high.


The jury would hear Mr Fitzgerald was found deeply unconscious and his jeans had been pulled down. He had suffered brain injury and a tear in his rectal wall from “a sharp object forcibly inserted into his rectum”, the prosecutor said.

‘Considerable medical evidence’

There would be "considerable medical evidence" heard from doctors at Kerry General Hospital and at Cork University Hospital.

It was the prosecution case that there was common design and that the two men acted together, Mr Rice said.

Evidence would be called of the two nephews and uncle drinking together in the Grand Hotel in Denny Street, Tralee, on the afternoon of the allegation and of being driven by a taxi driver to an off-licence to purchase alcohol before going to the home of Gerald Fitzgerald.

“Sometime shortly before 8pm a neighbour and another man found the complainant very seriously injured and deeply unconscious. His jeans were pulled down,” Mr Rice said.

The first witness was Garda Brendan Riordan, a scenes-of-crime examiner attached to Tralee gardaí.

Objects including two tennis rackets, a silver scooter and a large glass ashtray were identified in a book of photographs handed to the jury by the garda.

Blood staining

Cans and glasses were on the table and blood staining was in various parts of the house including on doors, the kitchen wall, washing machine, sink and window lintel.

In the back garden there was a blood-spattered stick and brush head. There were blood stains on the ground and yard, Garda Riordan agreed with Mr Rice.

At the outset yesterday, Judge Eugene O’Kelly gave strict instructions to the jury that they are not to read newspaper reports of the trial, or on the internet, or any comments that might arise on social networking sites.

He told them they must “act together as a single jury” and must not break into groups.

A jury of seven women and five men were sworn in.

Each accused is represented by a senior and junior counsel and Mr Rice said the trial is expected to last three weeks.