Majority verdict acceptable in double murder case, says judge

Jason O’Driscoll has pleaded not guilty to the murder of two Dublin men in March 2017

The trial has been taking place at Dublin’s Central Criminal Court. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

The trial has been taking place at Dublin’s Central Criminal Court. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

 

The judge in the trial of a 35-year-old man charged with murdering two fellow Dubliners will on Thursday give the jury further direction in case deliberations become deadlocked. He had earlier told the jurors that they may reach a majority verdict.

Jason O’Driscoll, with an address at Richmond Avenue, Fairview, has been on trial at the Central Criminal Court for the past month. He has pleaded not guilty to murdering 31-year-old Anthony Burnett and 25-year-old Joseph Redmond in Co Louth on March 7th, 2012.

The trial heard that firefighters were called to a burning car in Ravensdale Forest Park shortly before 11pm that night. The bodies of the two men were discovered fused together inside the stolen car that they’d planned to sell to the accused. They had been shot in their heads.

It is the State’s case that Mr O’Driscoll was involved in the murder, travelling to and from the scene in a stolen silver Mercedes S Class. The prosecutor told the jury that it could rely on circumstantial evidence to convict him.

The jurors began considering their verdict on Monday afternoon and had deliberated for just over five hours on Wednesday when told that they could reach a majority verdict of at least 10.

The five women and seven men deliberated for almost two more hours before Mr Justice Michael White called them back to court and told them to cease their deliberations for the day.

“If your deliberations were deadlocked and you cannot agree a verdict, the court will give you further directions first thing in the morning,” he said.