A video expert told a jury yesterday that, studying CCTV footage of a bloody fight, a would-be killer looks to be carrying a knife.
Giving evidence at the Belfast Crown Court trial of 20-year-old Alan Stewart and Adam Smyth (19), Mr Benedict Spencer told the jury that, in the initial frames of the short video, Smyth "has got an object in his right hand" .
However, the expert, who told trial judge Mr Justice McLaughlin that he had examined well over 1,000 video/audio recordings, added that, towards the end of the video, when Marc Keller is lying on the ground with obvious blood-staining to his shirt, "Smyth is holding an object that appears to be a knife or a similar weapon".
Belfast man Smyth, from Bests Hill, and Stewart, from Finnis close, both deny the attempted murder of Mr Keller as well as further charges of wounding and inflicting actual bodily harm on his brother, Anthony Keller.
Along with two other friends, the brothers were attacked at Donegall Square West in Belfast city centre after a night out on November 6, 2005.
While Anthony was stabbed in the leg, his brother, Marc, almost died as a result of stab wounds to his chest which lacerated a main artery and has left him blinded.
Yesterday, prosecuting QC Philip Mateer asked Mr Spencer about the possibility of "video noise" interfering with the integrity of the CCTV footage, taken from outside the Northern Bank, which could make it look like Smyth was wielding a knife. The expert dismissed the idea.
He told the lawyer that, as the item in Smyth's hand could be seen over a number of seconds and frames, it could not be caused by video noise and "does exist".
Under cross-examination from Stewart's defence, QC Laurence McCrudden, Mr Spencer agreed that he "couldn't say with any degree of certainty" whether it was a knife or not, but added that, when the action came closer to the camera and the lighting improved, the item in Smyth's hand "tapers to a point".
After being cross-examined by Smyth's defence, QC David Hopley, Mr Justice McLaughlin asked the video expert to take the DVD back to his lab and re-edit the footage to highlight two protagonists at once, such as Smyth and Marc Keller or Stewart and Marc Keller, and bring the DVD back to court to show the jury.