Mother-of-two who murdered ex-husband by stabbing him 28 times loses appeal

ireland
Mother-Of-Two Who Murdered Ex-Husband By Stabbing Him 28 Times Loses Appeal Mother-Of-Two Who Murdered Ex-Husband By Stabbing Him 28 Times Loses Appeal
Rita O'Driscoll (49), of Bridge Street, Bandon, Co Cork, was convicted of the murder of Timothy 'Timmy' Foley (44)
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Peter Doyle

A mother-of-two who murdered her former husband by stabbing him 28 times has lost an appeal against her conviction.

Rita O'Driscoll (49), of Bridge Street, Bandon, Co Cork, was convicted of the murder of Timothy 'Timmy' Foley (44) at Dan Corkery Place, Macroom, Co Cork, October 8th, 2018.

O’Driscoll had claimed she had acted in self-defence and later appealed the conviction handed down by Justice Eileen Creedon at the Central Criminal Court in Cork in October 2020.

Her lawyers argued that the chief witness against their client should not have been allowed to give evidence to a jury via video-link and through an intermediary.

Michael Bowman SC, for O’Driscoll, had told the Court of Appeal that his client claimed during her trial that it was in fact key witness Jason Foley who had stabbed his brother before attacking her on the night in question.

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Allowing Mr Foley to give evidence via a video-link, however, gave the impression to the jury that he was in some way a “vulnerable” individual, Mr Bowman had told the three-judge court at a hearing last November.

Dismissed

In a judgement delivered on Monday by Court President Mr George Birmingham, sitting with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Mr Justice Brian Murray, the appellate court dismissed the appeal.

Mr Justice Birmingham stated Jason Foley “had suffered a serious brain injury, required ongoing assistance with many aspects of day-to-day living” and “there was no disadvantage to the appellant in his giving evidence via video link”.

Submissions by O’Driscoll also stated Ms Justice Creedon had erred in "acceding to the prosecution’s application to allow their main witness give evidence in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Criminal Evidence Act 1992, with the assistance of an intermediary”.

The Court of Appeal ruled, however, that it was satisfied that in all circumstances trial judge’s rulings had been “unimpeachable”.

“Certainly, they were rulings that were open to her,” Mr Justice Birmingham noted.

Previous evidence

At November’s hearing, Siobhán Lankford SC, for the State, said this had been a case involving “extreme violence which had taken place in the home of Jason Foley”, whom she described as suffering from an intellectual disability.

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Jason Foley needed assistance when attending his GP, Ms Lankford said, and the jury did not get a “distorted view” of the witness just because he was allowed to give his evidence remotely and with the help of an intermediary.

“His intellectual disability was something the jury would have had to have been aware of, regardless of the presence of any intermediary or video-link,” she said.

Jason Foley told the trial he saw O’Driscoll standing over his dying brother with a blood-covered knife.

O’Driscoll had also denied assault causing harm to her brother-in-law and the mother of two was found not guilty on that charge by the jury.

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