After alleging that the 66-year-old had been assaulted at the end of a drunken night out in Sydney, two tradesmen were convicted of murdering a homeless pensioner.
Nathan Kelly, 23, and Christopher McLaughlin, 25, pleaded not guilty to the murder of Paul Tavelardis, who died on December 29 , 2018 in Grosvenor Crescent, Summer Hill, nine days after an altercation with the Irishmen.
Both men had claimed that they had never wanted to kill or inflict serious harm and had responded to an intrusion by Mr. Tavelardis, who was living on the street in his car.
The Crown had claimed that the younger men repeatedly struck the pensioner after he fell to the ground-a charge both men disputed.
The NSW Supreme Court jury returned non-guilty verdicts of murder and manslaughter on Monday morning, after deliberating for almost a week.
Justice Geoffrey Bellew thanked jurors for their service, saying that “sitting in judgement of another person is not an easy task as I’m sure each of you appreciate”.
Both accused men, from Donegal, Ireland, had been on remand for more than 20 months and had their working holiday visas revoked since.
That sparked debate after the verdicts, as Justice Bellew challenged whether Mr Kelly and Mr McLaughlin should continue to be detained by a Correctional Services officer until immigration authorities came to court.
“Mr Kelly is prepared to go with him to immigration authorities.”
“He doesn’t want to be wandering around the community,” the Irishman’s lawyer said.
“He wants to go home, I imagine,” Justice Bellew replied.