Belfast Telegraph

Jurors who convicted man of trying to kill victim with iron bar 'wrongly advised'

By Alan Erwin

Jurors who convicted a man of trying to kill another man by battering him about the head with an iron bar were wrongly advised, the Court of Appeal heard today.

Lawyers for James Greer claimed the trial judge misdirected them on whether any adverse inference should be drawn from his initial silence during police questioning.

Greer (30) is seeking to overturn a verdict that he attempted to murder Anthony McCrystal in June 2011.

He is serving a minimum eight-and-a-half year prison sentence for the attack in Ballymena, Co Antrim.

At trial it was set out that Mr McCrystal (50) was in the Doury Road estate to confront Greer with a metre-long metal bar. 

One blow was struck before Greer seized the weapon and inflicted multiple blows to the victim's head, face and body, the court heard.

Mr McCrystal suffered severe physical and neurological injuries, including skull fractures and bleeding on the brain.

He was put into a medically-induced coma and spent weeks in intensive care.

Due to the severity and nature of his injuries, Mr McCrystal was unable to give evidence at the trial.

Greer, formerly of Rathkyle in Antrim, claimed to have acted in self-defence.

Following his arrest he said nothing to police during his first two interviews before then giving details of an alleged attack on him months earlier.

He based his challenge to the conviction on claims that the jury was misdirected on the issue of whether or not to consider any adverse inference from his initial no-comment stance.

Judgment in the appeal before a panel of three judges was reserved.

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