Jury asked to decide whether accused had diminished responsibility

A judge has told the jury in the trial of a man accused of murdering a teenager in a bar on Arranmore Island to decide whether he had diminished responsibility.

A judge has told the jury in the trial of a man accused of murdering a teenager in a bar on Arranmore Island to decide whether he had diminished responsibility.

Stephen Boyle (41) has admitted killing but denies murdering Paul Boyle (19) at Early’s Bar, Leabgarrow, Arranmore on October 3, 2009.

Mr Boyle of Austen House, Cambridge Road, Kilburn Park in London has pleaded not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter at the Central Criminal Court.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy told the jury at the Central Criminal Court yesterday that one of the issues they had to decide is whether the accused is not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

He told them they also had to consider the issue of self-defence in which the prosecution would have to prove the accused did not use a reasonable amount of force and said there was “a grey area there for juries.”

“The prosecution must prove the killing was unlawful but by pleading guilty to manslaughter the accused accepts this is an unlawful killing,” he added.

He told the jury the prosecution was required to prove more than the physical action in question and he said they must prove that he had a certain state of mind at the time – a guilty mind.

The judge told the jury in the case of diminished responsibility the law assumes everybody to be of sound mind.

He told them it arose where a person is tried for murder and the jury finds that the person who did the act was suffering from a mental disorder.

He told them a mental disorder included mental illness, mental disability and dementia but does not include intoxication.

The judge said if a person is extremely drunk and they cannot control their movements, intoxication can arise as a defence but it is not relevant to the issue of diminished responsibility.

He told the jury in relation to evidence given by doctors on the topic of diminished responsibility “we do not have trial by expert”, and their opinions may be accepted or rejected.

He also said the jury was entitled to accept or reject what the accused said to the doctors as truthful but that there was no independent proof of what was said to them.

“It is with a health warning that you consider what was said to the doctors,” Mr Justice McCarthy told the jury.

The jury of six women and six men are expected to begin deliberating today.