Jurors in the trial of a teenager accused of the murder of Urantsetseg Tserendorj, who was stabbed in Dublin’s International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) last year, have been unable to reach a verdict.
The jury at the Central Criminal Court told Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring on Wednesday afternoon that 10 or more of them could not agree a verdict on either a charge of manslaughter or murder. The case is now listed before the court again on April 25th for mention.
The accused, who could not be identified as he is a minor, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ms Tserendorj but guilty to her manslaughter on January 29th, 2021. The State did not accept his plea and he was sent forward for trial on the charge of murdering the Mongolian woman.
Ms Tserendorj suffered a knife wound to her neck, which eventually led to her death, on a walkway between George’s Dock and Custom House Quay on January 20th, 2021. The accused boy was aged 14 at the time and is now 16.
Lawyers for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and for the boy delivered their brief closing speeches in the trial on Monday morning. Ms Justice Ring completed her charge to the jury before the seven women and five men began their deliberations.
When they had not reached a verdict by Tuesday afternoon they were sent home for the night and resumed their deliberations at 10.30am on Wednesday, when Ms Justice Ring informed them a majority verdict would be accepted.
However, after deliberating for just over eight hours in total, they concluded at 3.15pm on Wednesday by informing the court they could not reach a verdict on either charge.
Michael O’Higgins SC, for the accused, had told the trial that although his client was just 14 at the time of the killing he had developed a drug habit and went out to steal money to buy drugs. He asked the jury to look at CCTV footage of the attack and to consider whether the fatal injury to the deceased’s neck could have been accidental.
He suggested the boy’s motive was one of robbery and that he did not intend to harm Ms Tserendorj.
Sean Gillane SC, for the DPP, had said that a person stabbing someone in the neck can only intend to cause serious harm. “That is the only logical conclusion on a cold analysis of the facts,” he said. “The appropriate verdict is guilty of murder.”
Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring had told the jury that the prosecution must prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and if the jurors were not satisfied that the accused intended to kill or cause serious injury then the appropriate verdict is manslaughter. If they were satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to kill or cause serious harm to Ms Tserendorj, then they must find him guilty of murder.
Ms Tserendorj left work shortly after 9pm on the night she was attacked and walked along the quays towards home. Shortly after 9.30pm she phoned her husband and appeared to be in some distress. He left home and found her after a few minutes at the taxi rank by the Luas line at Connolly Station. She had a wound to her neck and while it was bleeding it did not seem significant, the trial was told.
An ambulance arrived and as she got into it she began to experience difficulty in swallowing and started coughing. She became increasingly distressed, struggled to breathe and her face became purple and her eyes closed. At the Mater hospital she was taken into a surgical theatre where medics discovered a penetrating injury to the carotid artery.
She suffered brain swelling and was placed on life support and nine days later, on January 29th, a brain test confirmed she had died. She remained on life support until her family arrived from abroad. A postmortem examination later revealed that she had a neck wound 2cm below her right ear that had cut off the blood flow to the brain, causing her death.