TWO barmen have been acquitted of the manslaughter of Nelson man Graham Parish who drank himself to death in an Irish hotel while celebrating his 26th birthday.
Mr Parish’s heartbroken 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
His parents said they hoped his death from alcohol poisoning was not in vain but highlighted the dangers of drink.
In a statement, the family said: “We realise we are not the only family that has been affected by this case and 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.”
Mr Parish of Calder Terrace, Lomeshaye Village, had been staying at the Hayes Hotel in Thurles, Co Tipperary, on June 30th 2008, overseeing a project for Reliant Installations Ltd, Skipton, where he was an employee.
The court heard he drank a lethal mix of at least eight shots in one glass which were given to him by barman Aidan Dalton (29) and overseen by manager Gary Wright (34).
The judge said the state had proved the two had a duty of care to Mr Parish, which they had breached and their negligence was gross.
But he found their negligence was not the cause of the victim’s death as Mr Parish took the decision to have the drink.
Outside court, the barmen’s solicitor JJ Fitzgerald said the pair - who still work at the hotel - were “much relieved” and extended their sympathies to the Parish family.
On the night of his death he was celebrating his birthday and the birth of his son.
His parents said: “Since becoming a father he rarely drank and had restructured his work to spend more time with his family. Unfortunately this rare opportunity to ‘let his hair down’ resulted in his death and left his young family fatherless.”
They are now to pursue civil action against the Mulcahy Hotel group which owns Hayes.