The 22-year-old Sligo suspect charged with the murders of Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee will face trial on November 13, 2023.
Yousef Palani, who has been charged with murdering two Sligo men on April 10 and April 12 this year, is set to stand trial at the Central Criminal Court and will remain in custody until the trial begins.
As reported by The Independent, the suspect is also facing charges for the attempted murder of a third man, Anthony Burke, at Cleveragh Road on April 9. Palani’s defence counsel, Brendan Grehan, attended the brief hearing via video conference and stated that the trial is expected to last for four weeks.
Aidan Moffitt, 41, was a businessman and Fine Gael activist who lived in Carton Heights. Michael Snee, 58, of City View, was known as a gentle, sensitive, and caring person who loved to cook. Both men reportedly met the killer through a dating app that caters to an LGBTQ+ audience.
The LGBTQ+ community in Ireland mourned the loss of both men earlier this year with a series of vigils across the country. Sligo Pride concluded their march at Sligo City Hall, where the community gathered for their vigil in April.
Shortly after their deaths, Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, pledged to introduce a new hate crime bill, saying “These are incidents that we thought were behind us. I just want to reassure people that any crimes that are motivated by hate or by prejudice or by discrimination, will not be tolerated and will carry higher sentences. I hope to introduce the hate crime bill in a matter of weeks to respond.”
McEntee published the Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences Bill to combat hate crimes and hate speech in October. The bill is currently before Dáil Éireann in Second Stage and it must be passed by both the Dáil and the Seanad before it can be signed into law by the President.
The Coalition Against Hate Crime Ireland, a coalition representing marginalised groups commonly targeted in hate crimes, has praised the proposed legislation, saying that it is an essential first step to ensuring that all communities feel safe in the country.
The coalition is assembling a comprehensive national action plan aimed at changing beliefs, increase awareness, improve reporting and provide further support to survivors.
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