The Central Criminal Court trial of Jozef Puska, the 32-year-old man accused of murdering 23-year-old Ashling Murphy in Co Offaly in January 2022, has been postponed from June 6 until October 2.
Justice Paul McDermott agreed today, May 17, to prosecutor Anne Marie Lawlor SC’s request for more time to respond to and obtain a further reporter after receiving an expert report from the defense.
McDermott questioned if there was any prospect of attaining "an earlier report," but Lawlor said there was not, noting that State prosecutors needed to identify an appropriate expert to conduct the report and that it should be completed by the middle or end of July.
Lawlor acknowledged that Murphy's family had expected the case to proceed in June and that they were very keen for the matter to proceed "in early course.”
Michael Bowman SC, representing Puska, said the defense could not stand in the way of the prosecution's application.
Justice McDermott fixed a new trial date of October 2 and agreed to a request from the defense to renew an application for a Slovakian interpreter for Puska, who was present in court on Wednesday.
The case is to be mentioned again at the Central Criminal Court on July 21 to assign a pre-trial management date.
Bowman said he believed the evidence in the trial would take three weeks, while Lawlor said pre-trial issues would take a week.
The murder of Irish woman Ashling Murphy
23-year-old Ashling Murphy, a teacher and noted traditional musician, was fatally attacked while she was out for a jog along the canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly at around 4 pm on January 12, 2022.
The shocking incident sent shockwaves not only through Ireland but also the global Irish community.
Jozef Puska, 31, with an address listed as Lynally Grove, Mucklagh, Co Offaly, was arrested on January 18, 2022, and was charged on the following day, the day of Murphy's funeral in Co Offaly.
The day he was charged, Puska appeared before a special sitting of the Tullamore District Court where Detective Sergeant David Scahill gave evidence of arrest, charge, and caution.
Puska was sent forward for trial to the Central Criminal Court on April 6, 2022, after being served with a book of evidence. Later that month, Justice Paul McDermott set a trial date of June 6, 2023.
Puska has been granted free legal aid, including representation of junior and senior counsel at the trial.