Three men have pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of an Irish teenager who died in Australia after he fell from an apartment balcony during an armed robbery.
Cian English, 19, originally from Carlow town, but who lived in the Brisbane suburb of Hawthorne, suffered traumatic injuries when he fell from a fourth floor balcony at the View Pacific resort in Surfers Paradise in the early hours of Saturday, May 23nd, 2020.
Lachlan Paul Soper-Lagas, 21, Hayden Paul Kratzmann, 23, and Jason Ryan Knowles, 25, were committed by the Southport Magistrates Court in May of last year to stand trial in the Queensland Supreme Court in Brisbane.
Super Lagas had previously not been able to be named due to legal reasons, but the court ordered that his name can now be published. The three men were aged between 18 and 22 at the time of Mr English’s death.
All three had been charged with murder but have now agreed to a plea deal, and are pleading guilty to manslaughter instead of murder, two of torture, two of armed robbery with actual violence, wounding, using personal violence and stealing on May 23, 2020.
The trio who are appearing in Queensland Supreme Court on day one of a two-day trial have been arraigned.
Chief Justice Helen Bowskill Court three at 1pm was informed by Defence Counsels that all of the accused men have agreed to a plea deal.
Kratzmann and Soper-Lagas have been in custody since the fatal incident with Soper-Lagas remanded on bail.
The court was told that Kratzmann, from Caboolture, had previously been convicted for breaking into chemists and stealing large amounts of medication, and Knowles, who was born in Sydney, had a history of armed robbery. Soper-Lagas, did not have a criminal history in Queensland.
The court heard that Mr English had been partying with a friend, before they invited the group from the apartment directly above them to join them.
He subsequently fell to his death when he was being robbed at knife point by the three men following the apartment party where the three men were high on prescription drugs. Mr English attempted to escape but tragically fell to his death.
Their arraignment will now be followed by sentencing submissions and sentencing on Friday.
A spokesperson for the Supreme Court said: “Sentencing all depends on how long submissions take from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and defence barristers.
“The Chief Justice clarified with the Crown Prosecutor in court that there is no reason why any of the three defendants in this sentence cannot be named.”
There is a large contingent of the victim’s family, his mother Siobhan, brother Dylan, relatives who have travelled from Ireland and friends in court. The teenager’s father Vincent was present on video link during the court hearing.
The two girls, who cannot be named for legal reasons, police allege filmed the beating, stabbing and fatal fall of Mr English subsequently posting video of the events on social media. Their cases are due before the Supreme Court on October 25th.
The Irish teenager was living with his parents Siobhan and Vinny and older brother Dylan. The family left Ireland 20 years ago, first to the Caribbean where Cian’s father worked for Digicel and then settled in Brisbane in 2011.
His ashes were laid to rest in St Mary’s cemetery, Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow several weeks after his death.
By Sarah Slater
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