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 O’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 O’Loughlin’s conviction was unsafe on these grounds.
O’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 “of vital importance” to the state’s case and the crucial evidence had come from witnesses who described the actions of O’Loughlin and a co-accused.
Mr Justice Fennelly said that while it was “unfortunate” that Mr Justice Carney had not given the jury direction on the doctor’s DNA evidence, this had come about as a result of objections by the defence in the original trial. There had been a “very strong” case against O’Loughlin, which made any imperfections in the trial judge’s charge to the jury “pale into insignificance”, 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 O’Loughlin had stabbed Roman Vysochan.
The deceased teen’s girlfriend, a sister of O’Loughlin’s, had told gardai within an hour of the incident that she had seen him stab Roman although during the trial she said she couldn’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.