Farmer murdered over stray cow, court told

The trial of two farming brothers accused of murdering a fellow farmer over a dispute involving a stray cow began yesterday.

Daniel Joseph "DJ" Byrne (38), of Hammer Lane, Borness, Mountmellick, Co Laois; and Jason Byrne (32), of the same address, both deny murdering Edward Dempsey (49).





Mr Dempsey, of Co Offaly, whose property straddled the brothers' farm in the neighbouring county, died in hospital 10 months after he was allegedly attacked in October 2007 during a row over a stray heifer.





Prosecutor Aileen Donnelly told the Central Criminal Court in Dublin that the jury will hear medical evidence that the cause of Mr Dempsey's death was pneumonia, septicemia and a longstanding brain injury and fractured skull.





Ms Donnelly told the court on the opening day of the trial that she will seek to prove that both the accused engaged in a "joint enterprise" on December 18 2006 as a result of which Mr Dempsey died.





She said the case was one of "joint responsibility, common design or joint enterprise between the two accused to, at the very least, cause injury to Edward Dempsey".









The jury heard how Mr Dempsey, of Moneyquid, Killeigh, Mountmellick, was taken by gardai to Portlaoise Hospital. The jurors were also told they will hear evidence that the deceased's condition deteriorated on the way to hospital, with gardai witnessing Mr Dempsey having "a spasm of fits" before he arrived at the hospital's A&E department "essentially unconscious". The court heard that a section of the deceased's land was located on Hammer Lane, near the farm of the accused pair. Ms Donnelly said that on the day in question the deceased's brother, John Dempsey, noticed that one of their livestock had strayed onto the Byrne's field near Hammer Lane.





She said Mr Dempsey, his brother and another farm worker travelled to the Byrne's farm and were "invited" by the brothers onto their property.









However, when Mr Dempsey tried to retrieve the animal he was struck by DJ Byrne, who was wielding the handle of a shovel, and "some kind of stick" held by Jason Byrne.





She said the deceased was struck on the legs by Jason Byrne and on the head by DJ Byrne before John Dempsey and the farm worker helped Mr Dempsey to his feet.





Later, Mr Dempsey was transferred to St James Hospital in Dublin after his brain injury worsened and he developed a blockage to his heart.





He was transferred back to Portlaoise Hospital where he died on October 11 2007.





Ms Donnelly told the court that the prosecution will attempt to prove that the injuries Mr Dempsey received on the December 18 2006 "caused his death in so far as they substantially contributed to his death".





She said at the time of the killing either DJ Byrne or Jason Byrne or both had the intention to kill or cause serious injury to Mr Dempsey.





Before sending the jury of six men and six women home for the day, Mr Justice George Birmingham instructed them to keep an "open mind right to the end" of the case.





The trial, which continues, is expected to last two weeks.





*Source: Irish Independent

News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
10 best reed diffusers

Smells good: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games