A jury will return to the Central Criminal Court on Monday to consider its verdict in the trial of a former heroin addict who stabbed a musician to death.
Keith Brady (30) of Cartron Estate, Sligo has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter for stabbing 59-year-old Martin 'Matt' Kivlehan at New Apartments, Holborn St, Sligo on August 2/3 2015. The court has heard that Mr Kivlehan died from two stab wounds to the neck.
Mr Brady told gardai he stabbed the deceased while "out of it" and his defence has asked the jury to consider whether he was too intoxicated to form the necessary intent for murder and should therefore be convicted of manslaughter. The jury of six women and five men must also consider whether the accused was provoked by the deceased.
In statements made to gardai the accused man alleged that Mr Kivlehan had "touched up" his sister Janice. In one interview he said Janice was saying: "Stop touching me, stop touching me," and that this was going on for a few minutes. He added: "I thought he was going to do something to her or something."
In a later statement he said he remembered the deceased getting "grumpier" and his sister getting "loud". He said he heard the deceased say something like: "I wouldn't touch Janice." Then he stood up and stabbed Mr Kivlehan in a "freak moment" but couldn't remember where he got the knife.
Finishing his charge to the jury this morning Justice Paul McDermott said they should consider whether it is reasonably possible that Mr Brady's account is true and then whether it is possible that this caused Mr Brady totally to lose his self control.
He said some of the hallmarks of provocation are present in that the accused man says it was a total loss of control which emanated from the actions of the deceased towards his sister and in the light of his heightened concern for his sister. Justice McDermott said the jury would have to determine if this is credible and should base their assessment on the accused's perspective as a drug addict who has been drinking and not from the perspective of a "reasonable man".
When considering the defence of provocation they must take into account Mr Brady's character, temperament and circumstances. If they find that it is possible that he was provoked, they must find him not guilty of murder, guilty of manslaughter.
If the prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had the intention to kill or cause serious injury and that he was not provoked, they should find him guilty of murder.
The judge also addressed the accused man's expressions of remorse, saying remorse does not determine whether he is guilty of manslaughter or murder. He said that people would surely regret being involved in such an event but the jury should concentrate on the time the stabbing occurred.
The jury will continue their deliberations on Monday.