Jury asked to acquit Dubliner of murdering father-of-three

David Brannock charged with murdering Jason Flannery and assaulting family members

David Brannock has pleaded not guilty to the murder  of Jason Flannery in September 2012 at St Joseph Way, Poppintree, Ballymun. Photograph: Courtpix

David Brannock has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Jason Flannery in September 2012 at St Joseph Way, Poppintree, Ballymun. Photograph: Courtpix

 

The jury in the trial of a 23-year-old Dubliner charged with murdering a father-of-three following exam celebrations has been asked to acquit him of murder and convict him of manslaughter by reason of self-defence.

The jury was hearing the defence’s closing speech in the trial of David Brannock, who is also charged with injuring four members of the dead man’s family two years ago.

Mr Brannock, of St Joseph’s Way, Ballymun, is charged with murdering Jason Flannery, causing serious harm to his brother-in-law John O’Neill, and assault causing harm to Mr Flannery’s daughter, Jade Byrne; his son, Anthony Byrne, and their mother, Claire Byrne.

Mr Brannock has pleaded not guilty to all five offences in the early hours of September 13th, 2012 at St Joseph’s Way, Poppintree, Ballymun.

The Central Criminal Court trial has heard that Jade Byrne got into an argument with Mr Brannock on the night before, during her Junior Cert result celebrations. The argument escalated and ended in a violent confrontation in the early hours of September 13th.

The jury heard the closing speeches today from both sides.

Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, said the real question in the case was why the accused returned to the Byrne/Flannery home in nearby Cairn Court, having been thrown out.

“That second visit acted as the catalyst for five members of that house to go out and chase him,” he said. “He lured them back to St Joseph’s Way, where he set about assaulting each and every one of them.”

He noted that parts of Mr Brannock’s ornamental knife were found at Cairn Court.

“The only logical explanation is that he had the knife there,” said the barrister.

He said a true verdict would be guilty on all five counts.

However, Patrick Gageby SC, defending, argued that his client had acted in self-defence.

He reminded the jury that Jason Flannery and his son, Anthony Byrne, had taken a crutch each from their home when they left to chase the accused.

“They were chasing him around a car with a view to doing what?” he asked. “Reading him a lecture? I think not.”

He asked if it was peculiar that so little broken glass had been found outside the Byrne home, considering testimony that bottles were broken there. He questioned whether someone had done “some sweeping up”.

He noted that there was evidence of people coming and going out of Cairn Court after the chase.

“That’s why the question of the knife handle is not so clear as the prosecution would say,” he suggested. “David Brannock is insistent that someone else brought the knife handle down. That’s a matter for you.”

He said that an intention to frighten was not sufficient for a murder conviction.

“If you think he did not intend to kill or cause serious injury, but intended to frighten, you’re entitled to acquit of murder and convict of manslaughter,” he said.

Mr Justice Carroll Moran will begin his charge to the jury tomorrow morning. The five women and seven men are expected to begin their deliberations in the afternoon.