Man found not guilty of manslaughter in Longford pub carpark

A Longford man has been found not guilty of manslaughter in the carpark of a pub over a year ago,

After just over four hours of deliberations, Gerard Melia, of Derrygowna, Lanesboro was cleared of the unlawful killing of Noel McGann on August 1st in the carpark of Leavy’s, Foigha.

The 32-year-old had pleaded not guilty to the unlawful killing of Mr McGann after punching him in the face just after 5pm on August 1st 2019 in the pub carpark.

Mr McGann died in hospital from severe brain injuries sustained as a result of a fall following the punch three days later.

The trial heard that the panel beater had told Gardai that he had no reason to hate Mr McGann but wanted to know why the deceased was talking about him.

While both men were outside, Mr Melia claimed that the dead man said that he would “kick him up and down the car park” and that Melia had struck him as he feared he was in danger after McGann had “lunged” at him.

The prosecution claimed Mr Melia’s reliance on a case of self-defence did not apply as there was no evidence Mr McGann had provoked Mr Melia for a long time and the 32-year-old engaged in a “deliberate, unprovoked act of violence”.

Defence counsel claimed CCTV was the “saviour” of the accused and that it showed Mr Melia was backing away from Mr McGann outside the bar moments before the tragedy unfolded.

He said the 32 year did not want it to happen, and the “one light hook” which Mr Melia threw was a “weak looking punch”.

After almost four and a half hours of deliberations at Longford Circuit Criminal Court, a jury of six men and four women found Mr Melia not guilty.

The accused hugged his partner in the witness box as the verdict was read out by Judge Keenan Johnston.

In excusing the panel of ten jurors from service for a period of five years, Judge Johnston said the events of the three day trial and past 14 months since Mr McGann passed away had been especially trying for his immediate family, and that despite the verdict, their sense of loss of Mr McGann was not lost on him or the court.