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Relief at drink death trial verdict

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Barmen Gary Wright, left, and Aidan Dalton have been found not guilty over the drink death of a customer

Barmen Gary Wright, left, and Aidan Dalton have been found not guilty over the drink death of a customer

Barmen Gary Wright, left, and Aidan Dalton have been found not guilty over the drink death of a customer

Two barmen who walked free from court after being acquitted of the manslaughter of a hotel guest who drank himself to death have spoken of their relief.

The heartbroken parents of Graham Parish said they hope their son's death from alcohol poisoning was not in vain but instead highlighted the dangers of drink.

A judge ruled Gary Wright, 34, and Aidan Dalton, 28, were not responsible for the death of Mr Parish, who died after downing a lethal cocktail of shots in one glass in Hayes Hotel, Thurles, Co Tipperary, on June 30 2008.

The landmark prosecution was the first case of its kind under the liquor liability laws.

Mr Parish's parents David and Julie and sister Jess were distraught as they left Nenagh Circuit Court, where Judge Thomas Teehan directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict.

The judge said the state had proved Mr Wright, the bar manager, and barman Aidan Dalton had a duty of care to Mr Parish, had breached that duty of care and that their negligence was gross.

But he found their negligence was not the cause of the victim's death as Mr Parish, a British father-of-two, took the decision to have the drink as he celebrated his 26th birthday.

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In a statement, the Parish family said: "We realise we are not the only family that has been affected by this case and that it has impacted and had repercussions for other families too.

"We hope this case will highlight the dangers of drink and if it can prevent any more deaths, we feel Graham's death was not in vain."

Outside court, the barmen's solicitor JJ Fitzgerald said the pair - who still work at the Hayes Hotel - were "much relieved" and extended their sympathies to the Parish family.


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