JURY FAIL TO REACH A VERDICT IN FINBARR MCCOY MANSLAUGHTER TRIAL
THE jury sitting on the trial of a Co Derry man accused of ‘one-punch’ attack on a reveller outside a Co Antrim nightclub failed to reach a verdict in the case today.
Finbar McCoy jnr (28), from Tamlaghduff Road, Bellaghy, Co Derry was accused of the unlawful killing of James McDonagh.
Mr McDonagh (28) from Castledawson, Co Derry, died in hospital from the injuries he sustained outside the Elk Bar in Toomebridge in January last year.
McCoy jr has always admitted throwing the single punch which struck Mr McDonagh, but has maintained he is innocent of his unlawful killing.
He was released on continuing bail while a decision is made on whether or not he is to face a retrial in the new year on manslaughter charges.
Earlier the jury of six men and six women, following over five hours deliberation over two days, reported that not only were they hung on reaching a unanimous verdict, there was no prospect of even a majority of at least ten of them agreeing on his guilt or innocence.
The jury was discharged by trial judge Mrs Justice Keegan.
During the trial the jury heard that Mr McCoy had been in the Elk bar with his family celebrating his father’s retirement. .
Mr McDonagh and his nephew, who were known to staff as regulars, were also in the bar.
Around 2 am there was a confrontation in the car park.
Mr McCoy jr, who had left earlier, had to be restrained after getting a friend to drive him back to the car park where he found that his parents had been injured.
Mr McDonagh was stripped to the waist “shouting and roaring… laughing, egging” people on, the court was told. Mr McCoy jr, said he “panicked” and was “fearful for his family” and managed to break free from those holding him.
He said that in his “rage” he ran over and punched Mr McDonagh, also claiming he threw the punch as a “scare tactic” and that immediately afterwards he punched “a fence in his temper”.
Mr McDonagh later died at his mother’s home despite the valiant efforts of paramedics.
A post mortem later revealed that Mr McDonagh died from bleeding and swelling of the brain after a punch caused him to fall backwards.
As he fell, his head hit off the pavement, fracturing his skull.