Dublin man’s lawyer says client will contest charge of causing Limerick student’s death in Greece

A lawyer for a Dublin man, who is charged with causing the death of a Limerick student on a Greek island, said his client will be fully contesting the accusation.

Greek police, and the public prosecutor’s office on Naxosr, refused to release the name of the accused, who is aged 20.

He is charged with causing “lethal bodily harm” to Niall O’Brien, 22, from Castletroy, Co Limerick, in the town of Chora, Ios, on August 30.

It’s alleged the two men became involved in an altercation resulting in Mr O’Neill sustaining a fatal head injury.

The accused was charged before a Public Prosecutor and Judicial Investigator on Naxos island, Thursday, and conditionally released on €8,000 bail, which must be lodged by September 15th.

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As part of his bail conditions the accused must sign on once a month at the Greek Embassy in Dublin.

The offence against the accused carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison, explained his lawyer Alexis Anagnostakis.

Speaking after his client’s court appearance Mr Anagnostakis said it was not up to him to disclose his client’s name and that he would not do so because of “personal data”.

The public prosecutor’s office was asked for the accused’s name. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor said they would not release the accused’s name. The office did not give a reason.

Mr Anagnostakis said his client would be contesting the charge and that, in his opinion, the evidence against him was “weak”.

“I appeared with him in front of the investigating judge; we stated our position against the accusation, and the judge and the investigating prosecutor unanimously felt there was no reason to detain him until the trial,” Mr Anagnostakis said.

“In my opinion, the accusation against my client (is) weak, and his family would like to extend their condolences (to the victim’s family) over the tragedy, but, it was not their son’s fault.”

“The charge was lethal bodily harm, which brings about a penalty of up to ten years in prison,” added Mr Anagnostakis.

An informed legal source in Greece said it could take “a number of years” before the matter goes to trial.

There is an accumulation of cases in the Greek criminal justice system, which is partly Covid-related, they explained.

Mr O’Brien was one of a group of 20 who were holidaying on Ios ahead of starting their fourth year studies in Financial mathematics at the University of Limerick, when he died last Monday morning.

Mr O’Brien’s family, some of whom have travelled to Greece in recent days, are liaising with The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust to arrange to fly his remains home for burial.

A source said they were hopeful the body could be repatriated this weekend, and that arrangements would be made for a funeral next week.

A talented sportsman, Mr O’Brien played hurling with Broadford in south east Clare; soccer with Aisling Annacotty AFC in Limerick; and golfed competitively with Casteltroy Golf Club.

He was due to start a part-time bar position at the golf club next week.

A tribute released by the club Thursday, read: “Niall was part of the Irish Junior Foursomes team in 2016, holing the winning birdie putt on the first play-off hole to win the Munster title.”

“Niall was a very popular and well-liked member of the club who was due to commence work in the club bar next week after he returned from his trip to Greece.”

“We are devastated that Niall will no longer be able to join us, and the tragedy of his untimely death has deeply affected all of us.”

Mr O’Brien is survived by his parents Ann and Mike, and brothers Cian, Eoin, and Alan.