Jury fails to agree in murder trial


A murder trial jury in the Central Criminal Court was discharged yesterday after failing to reach a verdict in the trial of a Limerick man accused of murdering his housemate. Mr Noel Kelly (19) had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr John Keane (26) at the house they shared at O'Malley Park, Southill, Limerick, on July 5th, 1996.

The jury of seven men and five women began their deliberations on Monday afternoon but when they were recalled that evening they had not reached a verdict.

Mr Justice Morris then told them he would accept a majority verdict of 10 to 2 or 11 to 1. He sent them to a hotel for the night and they resumed their deliberations yesterday morning.

However at 11.38 a.m. the foreman of the jury told the court they would be unable to reach a verdict. Their deliberations had lasted over four hours. Mr Justice Morris then thanked them for the careful attention they had given the case and discharged them from further jury service.

The trial heard that Mr Keane was shot and then severely beaten by two masked men in the early hours of the morning of July 5th last year.

He died from bleeding caused by a total of 11 serious blows to his head and bleeding from a shotgun wound to his chest. Shotgun pellets penetrated his heart.

The court heard that Mr Keane was a moneylender and "probable drug dealer" and that he had heavily fortified the bungalow in which he lived with Mr Kelly.

Throughout the trial, the defence held that a statement Mr Noel Kelly made admitting involvement in the murder was not true and was made under duress while he was in Garda custody.