THE jury in the trial of Barry Doyle who denies murdering Shane Geoghegan has been discharged after failing to reach a verdict.
There was silence in the courtroom when the jury of five men and five women returned and informed the presiding judge that they could not reach a verdict that they could all agree upon.
Barry Doyle, with address at Portland Row, Dublin and Hyde Road, Limerick, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Geoghegan at Clonmore, Kilteragh, on November 9, 2008.
The 25-year-old, who faced a mandatory life sentence if convicted of the murder, has been further remanded in custody pending a decision from the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to a retrial.
Members of Shane Geoghegan’s family, including his mother, Mary, his brother, Anthony, and his girlfriend, Jenna, were in court to hear the outcome.
The four-week trial, which included two weeks of legal argument, heard that Doyle confessed to the murder of the 28-year-old during recorded interviews while in custody at Bruff Garda Station following his arrest at 106 Hyde Road, Ballinacurra Weston, which was searched by gardai under warrant.
It was the defence’s case that Doyle had been coerced into making admissions by “threats” and “inducements” made by detectives during garda interviews.
According to the prosecution, Doyle had lay in wait to ambush Shane Geoghegan with “gun in hand and murder in mind”, believing his victim was somebody else.
“It was a cowardly killing but it was also a ruthless, determined and cold-blooded one,” Sean Guerin, SC, said of the murder of the 28-year-old aircraft mechanic in a case of mistaken identity.
Martin O’Rourke, BL, for the defence had argued that the accused man’s partner Victoria Gunnery, who was in garda custody at the same time as the accused on suspicion of withholding information, was being “used as bait” by gardai for the purposes of extracting admissions from Doyle. The defence maintained gardai offered to release Ms Gunnery from custody to take care of their baby daughter, who has a hole in her heart, if Doyle admitted murdering Shane Geoghegan.
The jury had also been told that there was no CCTV footage, no DNA evidence and the murder weapon used in the gun attack had never been recovered.
Mr Justice Paul Carney thanked the jurors for serving on the jury during the murder trial and excused them from jury service for the rest of their lives.