Eamonn Lillis will know his fate by the end of the week.  Today the jury in his trial for the murder of his wife Celine Cawley heard closing speeches from both prosecution and defence counsel and Judge, Mr Justice Barry White has started his charge.

They’re expected to start deliberating sometime tomorrow.  They’ll have a lot to consider. 

Prosecution counsel Mary Ellen Ring SC told the jury that Eamonn Lillis was an opportunistic killer who had seized on the chance to end an unhappy marriage when the row erupted with his wife on the morning of December 15th 2008.  She told the jury that the only verdict they should come back with was guilty of murder.

The defence are looking for an acquittal.  Defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC pointed out that the prosecution case simply didn’t hold up and told the jury that they needed to think about why a so-called opportunistic killer would only use moderate force when dealing the fatal blows, leaving Celine to suffocate to death.

The jury also have the option of manslaughter.  Or rather the options.  Judge White told them this afternoon that to come back with this verdict they would have to all agree on one of the possibilities. 

The first was that Eamonn Lillis had acted in self defence when attacked by his wife with a brick.  This would normally mean an acquittal but if the jury consider that he used excessive force the verdict is manslaughter.

The second option is that they think Eamonn Lillis is guilty of criminal negligence, in leaving his injured wife to die on the decking without calling the emergency services in time.  This also carries a manslaughter verdict.

Then there’s the option of provocation.  If the jury think that Eamonn Lillis was pushed to such an extent he snapped and wasn’t in control of his actions.  Again this is manslaughter.

Judge White has been running through the evidence of the trial this afternoon.  He pointed out that Mr Lillis lied about the masked burglar, even voluntarily embellishing his lie and clinging to it even when given several opportunities to come clean.  He said Mr Lillis had also lied to gardai about what clothes he was wearing even when his own bloodstained clothes were found in a suitcase in the attic.  It will be up to the jury whether they accept his comments.

Judge White also asked the jury whether they considered Mr Lillis’s affair with Jean Treacy to be a fling or something deeper.  He pointed to the note found in Mr Lillis’s bedroom that talked about running out of time.  He also highlighted mobile phone traffic between Mr Lillis and Ms Treacy which shows a marked increase of communication between November 2008 and December.  He asked the jury whether they considered this indicative of a fling or something deeper.

Judge White will finish his charge in the morning and the jury will consider their verdict.  We’ll all be waiting to see what they make of the case.