Jury's manslaughter verdict in fatal crash on Laois Offaly border quashed by Court of Appeal

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

court

Manslaughter verdict quashed.

The Court of Appeal has been “compelled” to quash a jury verdict which found a Portarlington driver guilty of manslaughter, despite agreement amongst experts that he met the criteria to be found legally insane.

Polish national Dariusz Alchimionek (44), with an address at Barrow Way, Spa Street, Portarlington, Co Laois, had denied the manslaughter of John Gorman (19) and assault causing harm to his brother, Adam, on December 29, 2015. 

The brothers had been returning home from Tullamore when a vehicle, driven by Alchimionek, suddenly crossed the road into the path of their oncoming car at Ballycrystal, Geashill, Co Offaly. 

Tullamore Circuit Criminal Court heard how Alchimionek had become convinced the Islamic State group, or Isis, were about to invade Europe and a third World War was about to begin. 

Consultant psychiatrists for both the prosecution and the defence agreed that Alchimionek met the criteria to be found not guilty by reason of insanity. The jury had the option of returning of three verdicts: guilty, not guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity. 

After two hours and 50 minutes of deliberations, the jury returned majority guilty verdicts of 11-1 on both counts, which were met with applause in the courtroom. 

Alchimionek was then sentenced nine years imprisonment with the final three suspended by Judge Keenan Johnson in October 2017. 

Lawyers for Alchimionek’s, Kenneth Fogarty SC and Niall Flynn BL, advanced the sole ground of appeal that the jury’s verdict was “perverse” and against the evidence. 

Mr Fogarty said the atmosphere in the Circuit Court was "highly charged". There was an "outpouring of emotion" that was "humanly understandable" but “not desirable in terms of how the law was to be applied”.

He said it was explained to Alchimionek that the foregone conclusion of a not guilty verdict by reason of insanity, was a referral to the Central Mental Hospital (CMH). He is currently in prison.