A JUDGE has warned the patience of the court is being tested at the continuing delay of an expert report sought by the defence in a manslaughter case.
Francis McDermott (19) from Camphill Park, Newtownbutler, is accused of unlawfully killing 13-year-old Oisin McGrath from Belcoo on 9 February 2015.
Oisin died following a playground incident in which he sustained head trauma. He was taken to hospital following an incident at St Michael’s College in Enniskillen and his life-support machine was switched off four days later.
McDermott denies the charge.
The case has been repeatedly adjourned while the defence await a specialist medical report by Professor Michael Wilson.
The prosecution have made it clear the delays are causing anxiety to the bereaved family and on the last occasion Judge Stephen Fowler warned there would need to be substantial progress.
At the most recent sitting, defence counsel stated the report has still not be received but it is anticipated draft sections will be emailed in the next few weeks.
He added Prof Wilson had highlighted some outstanding issues with the defence solicitors and noted the case to be “unusual and complex.”
The defence suggested the court proceed to fix a trial date in the autumn, advising the report should be received well in advance.
Mr Simon Reid prosecuting said: “I must emphasise the delay is causing family extreme distress and concern, particularly the open-endedness of the provision of the report.”
Judge Fowler noted he had wanted the report in by the end of the legal term.
The defence accepted the frustrations of the family and the court pointed out: “I have no control over this matter.”
But Judge Fowler remarked: “I will be exerting come control. I have been patient. It sounds to me the report is completed and just requires finessing.”
The defence responded: “I am hopeful but cannot commit as I have no control over the professor.”
Judge Fowler advised he was not delaying any further and listed the trial to commence on 20 November. It is expected to last around three weeks.
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Posted: 1:22 pm July 5, 2017