DPP accepts manslaughter plea over Naas killing after murder trial ends in hung jury

ireland
Dpp Accepts Manslaughter Plea Over Naas Killing After Murder Trial Ends In Hung Jury Dpp Accepts Manslaughter Plea Over Naas Killing After Murder Trial Ends In Hung Jury
When arraigned on Friday on the charge of murdering Joseph 'JoJo' Dunne at Harbour View on May 16th, 2014 Mr Almasi replied: "Not guilty of murder, guilty of manslaughter."
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Eoin Reynolds

Zoltan Almasi, who was put on trial accused of the same murder three times and saw a conviction quashed by the Supreme Court, has had his plea to manslaughter accepted by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for killing a man with a single blow of a baseball bat.

Almasi (49), whose third trial ended three weeks ago in a hung jury, has been in custody for seven years and will now face a sentence hearing for manslaughter for the 2014 killing of Joseph Dunne.

Almasi, a Serbian with an address at Harbour View in Naas, Co Kildare was convicted of murder following his first trial, but that conviction was quashed by the Supreme Court. His second trial resulted in a jury disagreement and his third trial ended on July 1st last with the jury again unable to agree a verdict.
At his last trial, he had pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Dunne but guilty to his manslaughter.

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When arraigned on Friday on the charge of murdering Joseph 'JoJo' Dunne at Harbour View on May 16th, 2014 Mr Almasi replied: "Not guilty of murder, guilty of manslaughter."

Caroline Biggs SC for the DPP said the plea is acceptable to the State. Mr Justice Michael White remanded Almasi in custody until September 3rd for a sentence hearing.

The court ordered reports from Almasi's prison governor, chaplain and a prison psychologist.

Baseball bat

The jury heard that Mr Dunne and a group of teenage friends were drinking at a bridge in Naas on the night of the killing. Almasi had just come home from work and was about to get into the shower when he heard banging on his Mercedes van, which he had parked outside moments earlier.

Mr Dunne and his friends were on their way to get a bus home when they passed Almasi’s detached house and van.

Mr Dunne’s best friend, Michael 'Mikey' McDonagh, testified that he sensed a change in Mr Dunne’s mood after one of the girls left their group that night. He said that the deceased was drunk, and was "shouting and singing" on the way to get the bus, before he challenged another, ‘big, tall’ man to a fight.

The accused saw Mr Dunne from an upstairs window, went downstairs, took a baseball bat that had been left in his house by a previous tenant, and went outside. He chased Mr Dunne away, bat in hand.

CCTV

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CCTV footage captured the last moments of the chase and showed Almasi raising the bat over his head before both disappeared from view. Almasi testified that he didn’t realise that he had struck Mr Dunne with the bat until he later saw an ambulance and garda car in the area.

By that time, he had parked his van in his garage, taken a shower and was walking through Naas. He said that he was on his way to meet his wife, as previously planned.

Almasi, however, had struck Mr Dunne with the tip of the baseball bat to the back of his head. The 20-year-old went to ground immediately as his friends were ‘frozen’ in shock. Diners from a nearby restaurant tried to administer CPR and Mr Dunne was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Death was as a result of severe traumatic head injury, and a post-mortem examination found a comminuted, depressed fracture of his skull.

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