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Accused admits to killing of friend but denies it was murder

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Victim: Brian Burke

Victim: Brian Burke

Victim: Brian Burke

An east Belfast man accepts full responsibility for the death of his friend in a house, a court heard yesterday.

The statement was made by a senior defence barrister for Kenneth Cowan, who appeared at Belfast Crown Court.

Cowan (29), of Titania Street in the Cregagh estate, is charged with the murder of Brian Anthony Burke at a house in the area on April 8 this year.

Before Cowan's arraignment hearing for the murder of Mr Burke began, Gavan Duffy QC told Mr Justice Colton that he was aware members of the deceased's family were in court and wanted to say a few words.

"The position is firstly that the defendant in this case accepts full responsibility for causing the death of the deceased Mr Burke."

He added that questions had arisen about Cowan's "mental state" at the time of the murder.

Mr Duffy said the defendant would be pleading not guilty to murder, and on the basis of his mental state the defence would be looking at a case of manslaughter by way of diminished responsibility.

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Cowan answered "not guilty" when the murder charge was put to him.

The defence QC said a consultant forensic psychologist had already been engaged who had compiled a report on the issue of diminished responsibility but he was now seeking an "addendum" to her report over a number of matters she had raised.

He told Mr Justice Colton that once the addendum report was received it would be served on the prosecution, who could then instruct their own forensic psychiatrist.

A prosecution lawyer said that the Crown would want to see any reports compiled on behalf of the defendant.

The trial date was set for January 7, 2019. Mr Duffy said he was not making an application for bail and Cowan was remanded back into custody.

Belfast Telegraph


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