Dubliner cleared of pub murder

 

A Dubliner was cleared of murdering another man during a pub row by a jury at the Central Criminal Court on Saturday. The jury found David Thomas not guilty of murdering the man in a Finglas pub brawl by a majority of 11 to one after considering the verdict for five hours, but found him guilty of assaulting two gardai.

Thomas (34), of Cloonlara Crescent, Finglas, who denied all the charges, was cleared of the murder of Mr Eamon O'Reily (23), of Sandyhill Gardens, Ballymun, on January 11th, 1998.

But he was found guilty of assaulting two gardai and of possessing firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury. The jury found Thomas not guilty by a unanimous verdict of three of the lesser charges of possession of firearms and ammunition. However, they found him guilty by majority verdicts of two further charges of possession of firearms and ammunition and of assaulting Det Sgt John Gantly and Det Garda Fearghall Patwell, causing him serious harm. The jury had retired to a hotel on Friday night after failing to reach a verdict and returned on Saturday morning to resume deliberations. Thanking them for their efforts, Mr Justice Paul Butler excused them from jury service for life.

Previously, the court heard that on the night of the killing there had been an "application of gross violence" in the bar before the shooting. The father of a man accused of murder said he later barricaded himself and his family into a flat for protection after hearing the family of the deceased issued a death threat against his entire family. Armed gardai and members of the ERU stormed the flat.

State pathologist Mr John Harbison said the deceased was shot with a shotgun at close range.

Thomas was freed on bail and will be sentenced on November 29th, prior to which victim-impact reports, medical reports and a post-traumatic stress report for Garda Patwell will be put before the court.