Belfast Telegraph

Specialist report from defence of student who denies killing Belcoo schoolboy Oisin McGrath 'served' on prosecution

By Michael Donnelly

The long awaited specialist report from the defence of student Francis McDermott, who denies killing former fellow Belcoo schoolboy Oisin McGrath, has been "served" on the prosecution.

Defence solicitor Myles McManus for the now 19-year-old student, told Dungannon Crown Court that the completed report from Professor Mark Wilson, of Imperial College, London, was received on Monday of last week.

The solicitor, from Murphy McManus, who said that a "case conference" was held between defence lawyers and Prof Wilson, on his report, and subsequently "served" on the prosecution. He then handed in a copy to Judge Stephen Fowler QC.

Prosecution barrister, Michael McAleer, who said he was standing in for senior and junior counsel in the case, said that Prof Wilson's findings had been sent to the 'directing officer'. Mr McAleer said he was "aware of the general issues" in the case, but that the report still had to be considered.

Judge Fowler said that if the prosecution felt the need of a report from their own expert, that should not be allowed to interfere with the trial date, fixed for November next.  Judge Fowler said if the prosecution felt the need of a further specialist report it should be considered "a matter of urgency".

The judge also indicated that lawyers in the trial, expected to last up to three weeks, should ensure that their witnesses are in a position to give evidence, if and when required. However, notwithstanding this, Judge Fowler ordered a further review of the case on September 12 next.

Prof Wilson, a leading expert in the field of Neuro Vascular diagnosis and treatment, was called in by the defence after the Republic of Ireland's State Pathologist, Prof Marie Cassidy had to pull out of the case.  Prof Cassidy had said she believed the issues involved were "outside her field of expertise". 

On Tuesday, as in previous review hearings, McDermott was excused having to attend. He denies the manslaughter of 13-year-old Oisin, who died on February 9, 2015, fours days following the incident in the playground at St. Michael's College, Enniskillen.

The now university student, from Camphill Park, Newtownbutler, who was 17 at the time of Oisin's death, is currently on his own bail of £500.

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