Two accused decide not to give evidence in Thomas Devlin case
The two men accused of murdering schoolboy Thomas Devlin have decided not to take to the witness stand to give evidence in their own defence.
As the prosecution case against Nigel James Brown (26) and Gary Ryan Taylor (23) concluded yesterday, defence barristers for the alleged killers said they would not be calling any evidence on the pair’s behalf.
Brown’s defence barrister Arthur Harvey QC told the jury: “I do not propose to call any evidence on behalf of Mr Brown.
“He has been advised that now is the time to give evidence on his behalf. His failure to do so entitles the jury to draw such inferences as they deem proper from that failure.”
Taylor’s defence barrister John Orr QC added: “As far as Gary Taylor is concerned I intend to call no evidence. He has been advised by his legal team in the manner outlined by my learned friend Mr Harvey.”
Yesterday’s hearing at Belfast Crown Court brought to an end five weeks of prosecution evidence against Brown and Taylor, who are accused of murdering 15-year-old Thomas on August 10 2005, attempting to murder his friend Jonathan McKee and attempting to wound him with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Thomas died after being stabbed at least nine times as he attempted to flee from his attackers. He was walking to his home on the Somerton Road in north Belfast after going to a nearby garage with friends to buy sweets.
Crown lawyer Toby Hedworth QC had told the court that Thomas, Jonathan and another friend, Fintan Maguire, were set upon “quite deliberately and without warning” by two men walking a black dog.
Fintan managed to escape over the wall of a nearby school, but Thomas was dragged back, allegedly by Taylor, and stabbed repeatedly with a knife, while Brown attacked Jonathan with a bat.
Jonathan previously told the court that the attack was “frenzied” and “brutal” and described how he saw Thomas lying face down, half on the kerb and half on the road, after the two attackers ran away from the scene. “I noticed that he was lying there and looked vacant more than anything,” Jonathan said.
CCTV footage taken from the lift and foyer at Ross House flats in the Mount Vernon estate in north Belfast, where Brown and Taylor were living at the time, showed the pair leaving together with a dog around 20 minutes before the attack. They were then seen on CCTV returning to the flats shortly after the murder.
Taylor had told police that at the time he had been with two friends smoking cannabis at a car park and was then dropped off in a car close to his flat.
However, the court was told that when police quizzed the two friends “neither were prepared to make a statement in support of this alibi”.
Brown, who has already pleaded guilty to attempting to cause grievous bodily harm to Jonathan McKee, allegedly told a PSNI officer that he was “burning up” and “couldn't sleep” a few months after the murder.
Today, the prosecution and defence barristers are expected to begin their closing speeches.
The case continues.