A 41-year-old man who killed a teenager in a bar on Arranmore island has been sentenced to six years in prison.
Last February, a Central Criminal Court jury found Stephen Boyle not guilty of the murder but guilty of the manslaughter of 19-year-old Paul Boyle (no relation) at Early’s Bar, Leabgarrow, Arranmore on October 3, 2009.
Boyle, of Austen House, Cambridge Road, Kilburn Park in London had denied murder but had pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
During the trial the court heard that the father-of-one stabbed Paul Boyle in the neck with a glass after a row involving a number of people at around 2.30am on the night in question.
Paul Boyle, who had celebrated his 19th birthday just three weeks earlier, was brought to the mainland by lifeboat but he died in Letterkenny Hospital at 10.20am on October 3.
Today Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy sentenced Boyle to six years in prison backdating it to October 2009 for time already spent in custody.
He noted that the accused had pleaded guilty to manslaughter “which dilutes the imposition on the prosecution”.
Judge McCarthy said Boyle had a number of previous convictions “of a minor nature” but said he would disregard them in relation to sentencing.
He also noted that Paul Boyle’s family went through a great deal of trauma and that his parents were particularly traumatised.
The judge took account of a psychiatric report, which said Boyle was of minimal risk of reoffending and that nine persons had given him “the highest references”.
He also noted that a defence of diminished responsibility was used during the trial but that the jury did not accept it.
During the trial, assistant State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar told the jury that Paul Boyle died from associated blood loss and trauma caused by sharp force trauma.
Dr Jabbar told the court there was trauma to the left side of the neck, which was caused by sharp force trauma, and that Paul Boyle lost 60% of his blood.
The court heard in mitigation from defence counsel that Boyle was of “minimal risk of reoffending”.
Counsel for the defendant, Mr Michael O’Higgins SC, had previously asked Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy to impose as lenient a sentence as possible but accepted it had to be custodial.
Mr O’ Higgins said the judge could impose a lenient sentence and that “if it were to be challenged could be comfortably stood over”.
Mr O’ Higgins said his client wanted to express his sincere sympathy to the deceased’s family.
He said evidence was heard during the trial that his client struck Paul Boyle twice – once on the head and accidentally “caught” and stabbed in the neck.
“The incident seems to have come to fruition in a number of seconds,” he added and that after the incident his client was very badly beaten up.
He also said the court had the benefit of an updated psychiatric report which stated that his client had been stable for the past year and was at “minimal risk of reoffending.”
Mr Vincent Heneghan BL prosecuting told the court on that date the prosecution did not accept that there was minimal risk of reoffending but that it accepted the decision of the jury.