Killer 'at minimal risk of reoffending', court told

The 41-year-old man who killed a teenager in a bar on an island off the Donegal coast is at “minimal risk of reoffending”, his defence counsel told a court today.

Last month, a Central Criminal Court jury found Stephen Boyle not guilty of the murder but guilty of the manslaughter of Paul Boyle (aged 19) at Early’s Bar, Leabgarrow, Arranmore on October 3, 2009.

Boyle, of Austen House, Cambridge Road, Kilburn Park in London had denied murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

During the trial, the court heard that the father-of-one stabbed Paul Boyle in the neck with a glass after a row involving a number of people at around 2.30am on the night in question.

Paul Boyle, who had celebrated his 19th birthday just three weeks earlier, was brought to the mainland by lifeboat but he died in Letterkenny Hospital at 10.20am on October 3.

During the trial, assistant State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar told the jury that Paul Boyle died from associated blood loss and trauma caused by sharp-force trauma.

Dr Jabbar told the court there was trauma to the left side of the neck, which was caused by sharp-force trauma, and that Paul Boyle lost 60% of his blood.

Today the court heard in mitigation from defence counsel that Boyle was of “minimal risk of reoffending”.

Counsel for the defendant, Mr Michael O’Higgins SC, asked Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy to impose as lenient a sentence as possible, but accepted it had to be custodial.

Mr O’ Higgins said the judge could impose a lenient sentence and that “if it were to be challenged could be comfortably stood over”.

He asked the court to take account of his client’s plea of guilty to manslaughter before the jury and that it came at an early stage, which was “of significant benefit to the court”.

Mr O’ Higgins said his client wanted to express his sincere sympathy to the deceased’s family.

He told the court that medical witnesses in the trial agreed his client was suffering from a mental illness at the time.

“Nobody is disputing he had a serious mental illness,” he said.

He said evidence was heard during the trial that his client struck Paul Boyle twice – once on the head and accidentally “caught” and stabbed in the neck.

“The incident seems to have come to fruition in a number of seconds,” he added and that after the incident his client was very badly beaten up.

He also said the court had the benefit of an updated psychiatric report which stated that his client had been stable for the past year and was at “minimal risk of reoffending.”

Mr Vincent Heneghan BL prosecuting told the court the prosecution did not accept that there was minimal risk of reoffending but that it accepted the decision of the jury.

He said the view of Director of Public Prosecutions was that it would be at the mid-level for the type of offence.

Mr Heneghan asked the judge to defer sentencing until the next sittings of the court as family members would be travelling to the court for it.

Mr Justice McCarthy remanded Stephen Boyle in custody and said he would adjourn the hearing until April 17 next.

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