Retiree’s murderer wants conviction overturned because jury was not told of mental disorder
A murderer has asked for his conviction to be overturned due to new evidence he suffered from an undisclosed mental disorder when he attacked a retired broker at his home, the Court of Appeal heard today (October 14).
imon McGinley (38) initially pleaded not guilty to the murder of Eugene Gillespie (67) at a house in Old Market Street, Sligo, on September 19, 2012, and instead admitted manslaughter.
But his plea was not accepted by the state, and in April 2014 a jury unanimously found McGinley guilty of murdering Mr Gillespie, a retired telecommunications broker who worked in the family shop and lived alone with his dog Tiny.
Mr Gillespie, a well-respected figure in his local community known for his love of vintage cars, was found tied up in the hallway of his house by his nephew and brother two days after McGinley assaulted him.
He died in hospital the next day from cardiac arrest.
McGinley was sentenced to life imprisonment and later lost appeals against his sentence and conviction.
Today, the Court of Appeal heard that new evidence showed McGinley was showing symptoms of schizophrenia when he attacked Mr Gillespie during a burglary, and it was argued that under the article 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act (1993), he had suffered a miscarriage. of Justice.
In a defense brief presented to the court, consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Monks said that “in hindsight, the description of symptoms recorded in the applicant’s GP records would be sufficient to diagnose schizophrenia.”
âWhether or not the applicant suffered from a mental disorder at the time of the index offense was not considered during the trial. ”
Martin O’Rourke SC, for the appellant, told the three-judge court that in light of the new evidence McGinley’s trial would have been “conducted differently” if his client’s mental state before the murder had been presented in evidence.
He said that a year before the murder, his client was suffering from auditory hallucinations and was prescribed antipsychotic medication.
McGinley also suffered from alcohol and drug dependence syndrome, which Mr. O’Rourke said was a recognized medical problem.
Such symptoms, the lawyer added, reached “the diagnostic threshold of schizophrenia.”
Referring to the trial, Mr. O’Rourke said there had been no dispute as to the facts of the case.
He said the only problem was that of intention and that a defendant’s mental state was “always relevant to the question of intention.”
Mr O’Rourke said any effect a medical condition had on an accused’s actions was “fundamentally” a matter for the jury to decide, but jurors had been denied that opportunity in this case.
Responding to Mr O’Rourke’s comments, state attorney Sean Gillane SC said the court was being asked to overturn a conviction that was reaffirmed by the same court in 2016.
Mr Gillane said people with mental disorders commit crimes every day of the week and that this is the first time he has heard an appeal “just say there is a mental disorder, period. final â.
“I still do not know what was isolated as a new fact,” he added.
Mr Gillane also said Dr Monks’ report was “strongly cautioned and contingent” and that the court was asked to consider it in a “vacuum of evidence”.
âTo urge mental disorders per se does not make sense,â he added.
Judge George Birmingham said the court is reserving judgment.
Evidence from previous hearings:
At trial, Judge Garrett Sheehan also sentenced McGinley to 10 years for the false imprisonment and seven years for burglary.
Both sentences were to be served at the same time as the life sentence.