The Mitchelstown man on trial for murder said he went home from the pub that night thinking that the deceased would call to his house the next morning and they would shake hands over what happened.
The jury watched a video recording of Michael Dineen saying how sorry he was and that a friend of his was dead over a row in a pub about a pint.
The accused was interviewed by gardaí and a video recording of this interview was shown on the sixth day of the trial.
Michael Dineen, aged 28, of Ard Mhuileann, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, denies the charge of murdering Patrick ‘Ginty’ O’Donnell, aged 36, at Willie Andies bar on New Square, Mitchelstown, on June 1, 2018. He admits being guilty of manslaughter, not guilty of murder.
In the recorded interview, Mr Dineen said: “I thought Paddy would come up to the house next morning and shake hands. I still cannot believe it… I checked him to make sure he was OK. He was OK as far as I was concerned. I walked away. I thought he was just knocked out.
“I don’t know how the man died. Did he swallow his tongue or what? Or hit his head off the ground when he fell?”
Asked how it happened, he said: “Everything was grand, good form, everything was fine. He started off that you robbed my pint, you owe me a pint. Then he just hit me in the side of the ear, in the back of the ear, and he wrestled me to the corner to the chairs.
“I started throwing punches as well. Then he fell back and hit his head off the floor. He fell backwards… I did not want to hit him, I had to hit him, I had no other choice.
“A few cuts were already on this hand from last week — definitely two of them happened with Paddy.”
Asked how much force he used, he said: “I could not say. I was very drunk, like, you know. I would not have been able to use normal force. I was very drunk. He is a big strong boy, like.
“A good friend of mine is dead over a drunken row in a pub. I have kids. He have kids. Life is too hard to be trying to make a lie or a mockery over the death of a friend. I feel very numb at the moment. There is a man dead. I am very very very sorry.
“I had no intention going out to hurt anyone. I hit him. He banged his head and died. I have to deal with it. Because he is a good man, a family man like myself. We come from the Travelling community. We get on.”
A legal matter had to be dealt with in the absence of the jury this afternoon.
Mr Justice Alexander Owens asked the jury of six men and six women to return to the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork today for the seventh day of the murder trial.