A man accused of murdering a father as he walked home from his daughter's 18th birthday party should be acquitted as he was acting in “self-defence”.
Defence QC Brendan Kelly told Belfast Crown Court that when Martin Murray (23) lashed out with a knife he was being attacked by Eamonn Hughes and so his force was “reasonable”.
Murray, from Windmill Drive, Dungannon, and three others — his cousin Liam Murray (24), from Windmill Court, Kevin Toye (24), from Windmill Drive, both Dungannon, and William McDonagh (25) from Kew Gardens, Ballymena — deny murdering Mr Hughes on September 13, 2008.
The Hughes family were walking home from Siobhan Hughes' party when an altercation broke out. Mr Kelly said the Hughes group were chasing Martin Murray and co-accused McDonagh as they tried to run to a taxi, but Mr Hughes attacked Murray with a belt when he fell to the ground.
The lawyer added that it “may well be” that he saw an option to get off the ground and get away.
The judge heard from one witness, Colm Thomas, that he saw Martin Murray hanging out of the rear seat of the taxi, holding on with his left hand as he lashed out with his right and that Mr Hughes fell to the ground as he did so.