A MAN sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Limerick teenager Roman Vysochan four years ago has failed in his bid to have the conviction quashed.
Counsel for John Oâ€™Loughlin, 23, formerly of Cecil Street, Limerick, argued that the original trial judge - Mr Justice Paul Carney - had erred in failing to give the jury direction on aspects of DNA evidence given by a doctor who appeared as an expert witness in the trial. Before Mr Justice Nial Fennelly at the Court of Criminal Appeal, Paul Burns SC argued that Oâ€™Loughlinâ€™s conviction was unsafe on these grounds.
Oâ€™Loughlin had denied murdering 16-year-old Roman Vysochan at Carrig Midhe on May 10, 2008, but admitted stabbing another youth in the leg during a row as the two teenagers visited their girlfriends at a house on the Corbally estate.
At the appeal hearing, Mary Rose Gearty SC, for the DPP, said DNA evidence had not been â€œof vital importanceâ€ to the stateâ€™s case and the crucial evidence had come from witnesses who described the actions of Oâ€™Loughlin and a co-accused.
Mr Justice Fennelly said that while it was â€œunfortunateâ€ that Mr Justice Carney had not given the jury direction on the doctorâ€™s DNA evidence, this had come about as a result of objections by the defence in the original trial. There had been a â€œvery strongâ€ case against Oâ€™Loughlin, which made any imperfections in the trial judgeâ€™s charge to the jury â€œpale into insignificanceâ€, Mr Justice Fennelly said, dismissing the appeal.
Roman Vsyochan was a promising soccer player who collapsed and died at the entrance to Carrig Midhe after running from the house after the attack.
In her closing speech at the original trial in July 2010, Ms Gearty told the jury that there was no evidence to suggest that anyone other than Oâ€™Loughlin had stabbed Roman Vysochan.
The deceased teenâ€™s girlfriend, a sister of Oâ€™Loughlinâ€™s, had told gardai within an hour of the incident that she had seen him stab Roman although during the trial she said she couldnâ€™t remember the incident as she had been smoking cannabis.
In January of last year, Anthony Mason, 20, of Bishop Street, Limerick, was sentenced to five years in prison for the manslaughter of his schoolfriend Roman Vysochan.