New jury sworn in trial of man accused of murdering infant

Delays in trial due to snow meant previous juror could not continue


A new jury has been sworn to hear the trial of a father accused of murdering his baby son after delays in the trial due to snow.

Justice Patrick McCarthy discharged the original jury this morning, day four of the Central Criminal Court trial, and swore a new jury of three men and nine women.

John Tighe (40) of Lavallyroe, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, pleaded not guilty to murdering his son Joshua Sussbier Tighe at his home on June 1st, 2013.

Justice McCarthy explained the delay caused by last week’s weather meant the trial would likely continue to next week and one of the jurors has a prior commitment.

Before asking the new jury to select a foreman, he told them the trial may have attracted media coverage over the previous week and, although he doesn’t expect them to live in a bubble, they should try the case only on the evidence they hear in court.

Paul Murray SC said the prosecution’s case is that baby Joshua died from asphyxiation due to an egg-shaped “bolus” of tissue in his throat. He said the jury will hear from medical experts who will say that a baby of Joshua’s age, six-and-a-half months, could not have formed the bolus with his hand or by chewing it with his mouth and could not have swallowed it.

As Mr Tighe was the only other person in the house that day, counsel said Mr Tighe is the only person who could have done it. He added the accused has maintained from the outset that it was an accident, that he was changing the baby’s nappy and went to the toilet. When he came back the baby had gone blue and he believed he had swallowed a baby wipe. This explanation, Mr Murray said, does not hold up in the light of the expert medical opinion that the jury will hear. The trial continues on Tuesday afternoon.