Friday 30 September 2016

Murder trial jury told to get 'inside the mind' of drug addict who stabbed his friend in row over heroin before reaching verdict

Eoin Reynolds

Published 10/11/2015 | 18:21

Dominic McGinn SC said:
Dominic McGinn SC said: "You have to get inside the mind of Peter Jackson, on the fourth of May 2012."

The jury at the murder trial of a drug addict who stabbed his friend in a row over heroin was told today to get "inside the mind" of the accused man before reaching a verdict.

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Peter Jackson, (41), of Kerryhall Road, Fairhill, Co Cork has pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty of the manslaughter of Wexford man David Hamilton (31), at a house on Kerryhall Road on May 4, 2012.

Summing up the defence case at the Central Criminal Court, Dominic McGinn SC said that by pleading guilty to manslaughter, Mr Jackson accepted that he is responsible for Mr Hamilton's death, but that he did not intend to murder him.

"You have to get inside the mind of Peter Jackson, on the fourth of May 2012," he said. "You have to be satisfied that he intended to cause serious harm. You have to look at Mr Jackson as an individual with all his flaws."

Justice Isobel Kennedy explained to the jury that the burden of proof is on the prosecution to show beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr Jackson intended to kill or cause serious injury to Mr Hamilton.

She said that the jury should consider that Mr Jackson intended the "natural and probable consequences of his actions" and added that he should not be found guilty of murder if they have a reasonable doubt that he intended to kill or cause serious injury.

Ms Justice Kennedy told the jury they could also consider that Mr Jackson may have been provoked by Mr Hamilton. She said provocation is "where an accused person suffers a sudden and temporary loss of control such that the accused is unable to prevent himself from killing the deceased man."

She said they should not consider whether a reasonable man would have lost control in the circumstances, "but whether this particular man would have lost control with regard to his particular history and personality".

She said that if the prosecution has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was not provoked, the jury should find him not guilty of murder.

In his opening speech, prosecution counsel Mr Thomas O'Connell (SC) told the jury of ten men and two women that the accused man had tried to inject heroin into Mr Hamilton, having already injected himself.

He continued: "He had difficulty finding a vein and this led to an argument and the upshot of this was that Mr Jackson picked up a knife and he plunged the knife in to Mr Hamilton's chest."

During cross examination, Pamela McHale (26), who is a friend of Mr Jackson and was in the house when the stabbing occurred, confirmed that the argument had started when Mr Hamilton got angry about not being injected properly.

She described a fight that broke out and said Mr Jackson picked something up off the table and swung. She later discovered that he had taken a knife from the table.

Mr Hamilton was pronounced dead three days later.

In his summary Mr McGinn described the death as a "tragic accident" and said that Mr Jackson's actions afterwards were not those of a murderer. He described how he tried to help Mr Hamilton and immediately told Ms McHale to call an ambulance.

"Mr Jackson has been consistent that he swung without any intention," he said.

He acknowledged that Mr Jackson lied to gardai in the immediate aftermath by pretending that he had found Mr Hamilton lying on the ground but that this is not evidence that he intended to murder or cause serious harm.

Ms Justice Kennedy told the jury that people lie for all sorts of reasons and that this alone is not proof of guilt.

Justice Kennedy will continue her charge to the jury tomorrow morning.

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