The only issue to be decided in the case of a Co Armagh man accused of murder is whether he fired one shot or two, his barrister conceded today .
“The only issue is the one shot or two shot issue,” Defence Counsel Joel Lindsay told Craigavon Magistrates Court during a brief mention of the case against Connor Lawrence McNeill.
McNeill (54), from Whitesides Hill in Portadown, is in custody accused of the murder of his neighbour, Stephen Barriskill, and possessing a shotgun with intent to endanger life on October 26, last year.
Previous courts have heard that sometime after 10pm on October 26, “Mr McNeill entered the home of Mr Barriskill… and at that point had with him his legally held, loaded shotgun”.
“He approached Mr Barriskill about matters that had allegedly occurred before these events and during that conversation, Mr McNeill shot him twice in the chest with the shotgun,” said Detective Sergeant Campbell when McNeill was first charged, adding that “for reasons only he will know”. McNeill then went to a friend’s house before he went home.
The following day, McNeill handed himself in to Lurgan police station “and told police what had occurred the night before” and over the course of five interviews, McNeill “accepted that he had entered his home and should not have been there, accepted he had a loaded firearm and accepts that he shot Mr Barriskill twice in the chest.”
In court today, a prosecuting lawyer asked for a short adjournment as various matters and reports were still outstanding including the post-mortem report, CCTV footage and forensic examinations of clothing and seized mobile phones.
District Judge Bernie Kelly said however “there would be absolutely no point” in such an adjournment and enquired “there was meant to be a fast-track system where effectively someone acknowledges their guilt at interview and this case would appear prime for fast-tracking.”
“Presumably that’s gone out the window,” said District Judge Kelly suggesting that the Pubic Prosecution Service “could maybe check the fast-tracking system.”
Remanding McNeill back into custody, she adjourned the case to July 29.