No prosecution in fatal stabbing

CHARGES will not be brought against a man found holding a knife at the scene of a fatal stabbing at a Valentine’s night party in Kilkenny last year.

CHARGES will not be brought against a man found holding a knife at the scene of a fatal stabbing at a Valentine’s night party in Kilkenny last year.

Gardai have confirmed that the incident was fully investigated and that a file went to the DPP. The DPP directed that there will be no prosecution in the matter.

Kieran Monahan (21) from Durrow, Co Laois died following a single stab wound to the heart at the suspect’s rented apartment at Larchfield Court. The suspect, a main in his thirties will not face prosecution and there is speculation that the Monahan stabbing could be the first time the Criminal Law (Defence and Dwelling) Act 2011 has been applied. The act clarifies the legal situation concening the use of force by a householder when it comes to an intruder and states that a person may use reasonable force to defend themselves there.

Sources say there is clear evidence that the person found with the knife had been seeking to prevent two men from entering the apartment. It is understood that the man who died and another man in his twenties had returned to the apartment following an earlier row there and were trying to get back in.

Cahir O’Higgins, a solicitor specialising in criminal law, said under the terms of the 2011 act the onus would be on the prosecution to disproe a homeowner’s claim of acting in self-defence. “The burden of proof is on the prosecution to disprove what the defence is asserting,” O’Higgins said.

The act does not require an intruder to be armed for the homeowner to defend themselves. Under the law, anybody who uses force against a burglar, trespasser or somebody trying to get into a home is not guilty of an offence if he or she honestly believes that there were to commit a criminal act.

In this case, sources say that there is clear evidence that the man with the knife had been seeking to prevent the two men from entering the apartment. He was on a 999 call to gardai telling them that two men were trying to force their way in. It is believed that the DPP’s office may have felt that there would have been too strong a defence under the 2011 act to warrant taking a case to court.The DPP’s office does not explain how it reaches decisions on whether or not to prosecute. A spokesman for the Office of the DPP had no comment to make.