DPP to decide on second retrial for Wexford couple after manslaughter verdicts overturned

Evelyn Joel died in hospital six days after being admitted

Newstalk, Multiple Sclerosis, MS, Evelyn Joel, Enniscorthy, Wexford, neglect, daughter, Jonathan Costen, Elanor Costen, court, law, crime, justice, conviction, appeal

File photo: Criminal Courts of Jusice

The Director of Public Prosecutions will consider whether to direct a second retrial for a Wexford couple whose manslaughter convictions were overturned on appeal today.

Eleanor Joel and her partner Jonathan Costen had denied the unlawful killing by neglect of Eleanor’s mother Evelyn - who was suffering from MS.

When Evelyn Joel moved in with her daughter Eleanor and her partner Jonathan at Cluain Dara in Enniscorthy in 2004, it was supposed to be a temporary arrangement, but she was still there when paramedics found her lying in a filthy bed on New Year’s Day 2006. She died in hospital six days later.

The couple were found guilty of manslaughter by neglect and handed suspended sentences, but today, the Court of Appeal quashed their convictions on a number of grounds.

The judges agreed that the 2012 retrial should have been moved to Dublin because of what was reported locally during the first trial. They also agreed a substitute juror shouldn’t have been selected in the absence of Eleanor’s solicitor and that Mr. Costen did not have a duty of care to Evelyn.

The DPP will now be left to consider today’s judgement and decide on whether to pursue a second retrial.