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Thurles Barmen Manslaughter Case Struck Out

Two barmen, Mr Gary Wright and Mr Aidan Dalton, both charged with the manslaughter of Mr Graham Parish, were found not guilty on the judge’s orders this morning at Nenagh Court. Both men had denied responsibility for the death of Mr Parish in Hayes Hotel, Thurles, Co Tipperary, on June 30th 2008.

Hayes Hotel, Thurles, Co Tipperary

Mr Parish, from Calder Terrace in Lomeshaye village near Nelson, East Lancashire, was celebrating his 26th birthday, when he drank a lethal mix of at least eight shots in one glass.

Mr Parish’s grieving parents David and Julie and his sister Jess were obviously upset, as they left the Circuit Court in Nenagh, where Judge Thomas Teehan directed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty. The family of the late Mr Parish said in a statement later, that Graham had brought much happiness to his family and he was greatly missed.  They now hoped this case will highlight the dangers of alcohol and if this incident could prevent further deaths then their son’s death would not have been in vain.

Judge Teehan stated that the State had proved Mr Wright and Mr Dalton had a duty of care to Mr Parish, and had breached that duty of care and that their negligence was gross, however he found their negligence was not the cause of the victim’s death and Mr Parish had taken the decision to consume the drink of his own free will. He said there was a high level of personal responsibility in relation to drink and no jury could safely bring in a verdict of guilty on either man, directing the jury to find them not guilty.

This case is set to raise further debate over the responsibility owed to consumers by bar proprietors and those working in licenced premises, and also the responsibility by consumers, to themselves, in controlling their personal drinking behaviour.

Family and friends wept in court as the case was dramatically struck out. The accused, through their Thurles Solicitor, Mr J.J. Fitzgerald, extended their sympathies to the Parish family.

The six-day trial heard that Mr Parish had been drinking heavily in the hotel bar with his five other British contractors, who were working in a meat processing plant in the area. Both Mr Wright, a barman for 13 years, and Mr Dalton, who had worked in the pub trade for some 10 years, told investigators they believed the drink would be shared among his friends.

This case is the first of its kind under newly introduced Irish alcohol liability laws.

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