Arranmore murder case goes to jury today

Closing speeches have been made in the trial of a man accused of murdering a teenager in a bar on Arranmore Island.

Closing speeches have been made in the trial of a man accused of murdering a teenager in a bar on Arranmore Island.

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.

Under cross-examination last Thursday consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Paul O’Connell agreed with Mr Michael O’Higgins SC defending the accused might be suffering from a depressive disorder.

Dr O’Connell said that while he did not believe the accused had bipolar II disorder he agreed there might be a depressive disorder. He said he and another psychiatrist who saw the accused both held the opinion he had an adjustment or depressive disorder.

Dr O’Connell agreed that they were all psychiatric disorders and it was just a question of degree but said this was obscured by the fact the accused was drinking on the day of the incident. He had been drinking and it is clear that if one drinks his judgement is impaired, Dr O’Connell told the court.

Lawyers for both the prosecution and the defence closed their cases on Thursday evening. They gave their closing speeches to the jury on Friday.

Mr Paul O Higgins SC prosecuting told the jury the case was about intent, that a suggestion of self-defence operates in it and whether Stephen Boyle’s actions are diminished by nature of the fact he is suffering from a mental disorder. You might think it is slightly surprising that in a relatively small pubthat more people didnt see more than they did, he told the jury.

Mr O’Higgins SC said that Stephen Boyle was quite capable of retreating from the situation by leaving the pub.

He told the jury the accused had consumed 35 units of alcohol that day but said that forming a drunken intent makes a person just as guilty as if that intent was soberly formed.

But he said if a person was so drunk they were falling around the place then he is entitled to be acquitted of murder. “Stephen Boyle doesn’t seem to advance self-defence at all. It had no flavour of that”, he said.

He told them if they believed the accused had a mental disorder, the necessary ingredient is that the disorder operated in such a way as to substantially diminish the responsibility for the killing. “It is for you to consider what you believe the scale of the disorder is”, he added.

Mr Michael O Higgins SC defending told the jury an outright acquittal was not open to them because his client had pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

He said both the prosecution and the defence agreed that some of the witnesses may be holding back the truth.

“That is a toxic situation. It’s up to you to work it out”, he said.

“You’re being asked to feel your way around who may be truthful and who may not be truthful. It’s a very, very difficult thing to do”, he added.

He told the jury there was ample evidence in the case that the accused was not only drunk but that he had a mental disorder, which would reduce murder to manslaughter. “His judgment is clouded and impaired in a substantial way”, he told the jury.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy was due to address the jury of six women and six men this morning, before they began their deliberations.