Two Irishmen acquitted of murdering homeless man in Australia
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Two Irishmen acquitted of murdering homeless man in Australia

A PAIR of Irish tourists have escaped murder charges after being accused of murdering a homeless man in Australia.

Nathan Kelly, 23, and Christopher McLaughlin, 25, both from Co. Donegal, were acquitted of murdering Paul Tavelardis after arguing they were attacked by the 66-year-old during a night out in Sydney.

The Irish duo both pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Tavelardis, who died nine days after the alleged incident on December 29, 2018.

They faced life imprisonment had they been found guilty.

At a hearing in December last year, the trial judge Ms Justice Elizabeth Fullerton said it was clear that "very, very severe intoxication by alcohol" was a factor in the alleged crime.

She added that there was "some degree of incapacity" by the two men at the time of the incident.

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After deliberating for almost a week, the NSW Supreme Court jury returned not guilty verdicts to both murder and manslaughter this morning.

Both Kelly and McLaughlin had spent more than 20 months on remand and have since had their working holiday visas revoked.

"Mr Kelly is prepared to go with him to immigration authorities. He doesn’t want to be wandering around the community,” the Irishman's lawyer said.

"He wants to go home, I imagine," Justice Bellew replied.

McLaughlin also indicated he was prepared to wait in the court for immigration authorities to arrive.