Belfast Telegraph

Co Down stabbing accused may use vertigo as part of defence

Belfast High Court.
Belfast High Court.

By Alan Erwin

A man accused of inflicting multiple wounds to a stab victim may rely on vertigo in a bid to prove no intent was involved, the High Court heard today.

Adam Kerr's lawyer revealed the potential defence to allegations that he carried out the knife attack during a night out drinking in Downpatrick, Co Down.

Prosecutors said a man in his twenties was stabbed five times in the chest outside a house in the town last December.

He also sustained a wound to his shoulder and a punctured lung, resulting in him spending nearly a week in hospital.

Kerr, 22, of Saul Street in Downpatrick, was originally accused of his attempted murder.

He now faces charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, criminal damage to cupboard doors and common assault to another associate.

During a bail hearing Crown lawyer Kate McKay said Kerr and the alleged victim know each other.

The court heard a group had been drinking in the town before separating after the pubs closed.

A witness claims one man suffered a facial injury when Kerr kicked a cupboard door off its hinges.

Later, the defendant allegedly emerged from a property and started struggling with another member of their group.

According to the prosecution Kerr kicked him while he was on the ground before making a number of "jabbing" gestures towards his torso.

Witnesses then realised the man was losing blood and had been seriously injured, the court heard.

He managed to stagger to another address where an ambulance and police were called.

Although no weapon has been recovered, Mrs McKay said one man claims he saw a silver throwing knife near the scene.

Kerr later handed himself in to police, insisting he had been out with friends for a "good night".

He claimed the man who suffered the knife wounds had been the aggressor after arriving at the house to argue with him.

Kerr said he had no memory of stabbing anyone, but indicated that he had sliced his own finger.

"He then went on to claim that he has suffered a blackout," Mrs McKay added.

Defence counsel Richard McConkey contended that there are issues about whether his client intended to inflict the alleged injuries.

"He's already instructed that there have been difficulties in respect of vertigo and other matters that might have affected his mens rea (liability) at the time of the alleged offence," the barrister said.

Bail was refused, however, due to the risk of re-offending.

Mr Justice Colton said: "Having regard to the nature of the alleged offences I don't consider the applicant is an appropriate candidate."

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