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Man in custody for manslaughter refused release on virus grounds

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A MAN in custody for killing another in a ‘drunken brawl’ has had his attempt to be released from prison due to his vulnerability to the coronavirus thrown out by the Royal Court.

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Brian McMahon (51) was remanded in custody last week after admitting to manslaughter in relation to the death of 65-year-old Melvin Murphy during a fight near Springfield Stadium last September.

The Royal Court heard that the defendant pursued the man after they had an argument outside the nearby Robin Hood pub. It was heard that he threw one punch – causing Mr Murphy, a father, to fall back and hit his head on the ground – before walking off and leaving him.

Mr Murphy died in intensive care the next day.

On Friday, McMahon applied to be released from prison ahead of his sentencing date in July on the grounds that he took drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis which affected his immune system, making him more vulnerable to the virus.

Advocate James Bell, representing McMahon, said human rights group Amnesty International had issued recommendations to release inmates on remand who do not pose a risk to the community if they are vulnerable to COVID-19. McMahon had no previous convictions prior to this offence and, Mr Bell said, he posed no risk to the community or himself.

But Lieutenant-Bailiff Anthony Olsen, presiding, said the court was unanimous in its view that the bail application must be refused. He said the court was ‘in no doubt’ that McMahon ‘would be safer in prison than in the community and have better access to medical help than if he was in the community’.

Mr Olsen continued: ‘We have listened very carefully but this was a very serious offence and someone has lost their life as a result. The court feels a custodial sentence is inevitable and society would be appalled if the court did not imprison a man who killed another in a drunken brawl.’

Crown Advocate Richard Pedley said HMP La Moye had introduced measures to protect inmates from the virus and was ready to go ‘into cruise ship mode’ should a case of COVID-19 be confirmed.

He added: ‘My learned friend says the defendant does not represent a danger. He does not have a record but he has killed a man in a drunken brawl.’

Jurats Robert Christensen and David Hughes were also sitting.

Jack Maguire

By Jack Maguire
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