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No appeal for man who stabbed his nephew George Morrison to death


Belfast's Laganside Courts

Belfast's Laganside Courts

Belfast's Laganside Courts

An appeal by a man serving a life sentence for murdering his nephew has no merit, his lawyer told a court today.

Defence counsel confirmed plans to come off record after being "dismissed" by Samuel Morrison over the legal opinion.

The 52-year-old defendant was unanimously convicted of stabbing George Morrison to death in a north Belfast alleyway in July 2009.

He had been found guilty of carrying out the fatal attack amid allegations the victim was a rapist.

A jury at Belfast Crown Court was told Morrison had been overheard threatening his nephew George Morrison and calling him paedophile.

It was claimed that after drinking at another relative's flat he left for a period, returning later to shout through a letter box that he had stabbed and slit the victim's throat.

When asked why, he allegedly replied that his nephew was a rapist.

The jury also heard that when arrested by police Morrison told them: "He was given every opportunity to leave the country and he never listened to me."

Challenges to both his conviction and the minimum 16-year prison sentence have been lodged.

But at the Court of Appeal today his latest legal team confirmed the breakdown in their professional relationship and the reasons behind it.

Barrister Conor O'Kane said he had studied a large volume of documents obtained from previous defence representatives.

"I simply came to the conclusion earlier this week... there was no merit in an appeal," Mr O'Kane told the panel of three judges.

He added: "The sentence of 16 years in my view was not manifestly excessive or wrong in principle."

The barrister explained how he went to brief his client before the hearing got underway.

"Very quickly in that consultation Mr Morrison dismissed both me and my solicitor," he said.

"I'm coming off record and my solicitor is coming off record."

However, Lord Justice Gillen pointed to other legal procedures before the move can be formalised.

Due to a medical report suggesting Morrison lacks mental capacity the judges have referred his case to the Official Solicitor's Office.

Proceedings were then adjourned until April.

Belfast Telegraph