Jury to resume deliberations in murder trial of Kerry farmer

Michael Ferris drove forks of teleporter through neighbour’s car window

Michael Ferris of Rattoo, Ballyduff, Co Kerry,  who denies murdering  John Anthony O’Mahony of Ardoughter on April 4th, 2017.  Photograph:  Domnick Walsh Eye Focus

Michael Ferris of Rattoo, Ballyduff, Co Kerry, who denies murdering John Anthony O’Mahony of Ardoughter on April 4th, 2017. Photograph: Domnick Walsh Eye Focus

 

The jury will resume its deliberations on Friday in the trial of a north Kerry farmer who denies murdering a neighbouring landowner.

Ms Justice Carmel Stewart has told the five women and seven men in the trial at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Tralee they must be unanimous.

Michael Ferris (63) of Rattoo denies murdering tillage farmer John Anthony O’Mahony of Ardoughter on April 4th, 2017.

Summing up, Ms Justice Carmel Stewart said it was the prosecution’s case that Mr Ferris parked his teleporter on the laneway, went off and did a few jobs, heard a horn hooting, and got back into his teleporter.

He said he drove into Mr O’Mahony’s Peugeot 508, the judge said. This had caused “catastrophic injuries”. The crow banger had been going on for 20 years. It was not liked by other neighbours, but on that particular day, Mr Ferris decided to put an end to it, she said.

She said if they accepted the defence plea of provocation, because of past history in relation to the crow banger, the loss of self-control must be total and “cannot be tinged by calculation.”

“To justify provocation there must be a sudden, unforeseen onset of passion which for the moment totally deprived the accused of his self-control,” she said.

The jury is being asked to decide guilty of murder or not guilty of murder by reason of manslaughter.

‘Just verdict’

Earlier the jury was told by the defence “the just verdict” would be manslaughter.

In closing speeches the trial has been told it was all about a crow banger. Defence counsel Brendan Grehan said the community was being oppressed by the deceased and living in fear of a totally unreasonable person.

Mr Grehan said he rejected the prosecution claim that the killing was intentional.There was provocation and there was an accumulation of different matters over the years, which led his client to snap, Mr Grehan said.

“We are all capable of losing it or getting excited. With some of us, it builds up slowly,” Mr Grehan said.

The defence was not asking the jury to condone what he did – what Michael Ferris did was a terrible thing and he accepted he unlawfully killed the accused.

Patrick McGrath for the prosecution told the jury the actions of Mr Ferris were not consistent with a sudden loss of self-control, or acting in a fury. He had been thinking about it for a number of days, the jury was told.

“What is remarkable is his behaviour afterwards; the absence of regret, the absence of remorse, the absence of shock ,” Mr McGrath said.

The counsel referred to the interviews with detectives in which Mr Ferris agreed he had set out that morning to kill Mr Mahony and that he drove the forks in through the car window. Asked if he had set out to kill him, the accused had said: “Well if I didn’t kill him, I would have seriously injured him anyway.” Michael Ferris had never suffered from mental health problems; he had not acted under a sudden loss of control, Mr McGrath also said.