Murder trial delayed amid concern over date

Liam Whoriskey
Liam Whoriskey

A judge at Londonderry Crown Court today adjourned the trial of a 25-year-old man who denies murdering a three-year-old boy, after he was told the trial date fell on the second anniversary of the child’s death.

Judge Philip Babington said he was not aware that the trial, which was scheduled to have started in the Bishop Street courthouse next week, fell on the second anniversary of the death of Kayden McGuinness.

“That is a matter which weighs heavily in terms of his mother and of Kayden’s family. This is a case which has caused a lot of people a great deal of anguish, not surprisingly,” he said.

Judge Babington said a jury would now be empanelled to hear the case on September 23, with the evidence starting the following day.

“The trial is to be given total priority,” he added.

The defendant in the case is Liam Whoriskey, a waiter from Glenabbey Gardens in the Skeoge area of Londonderry, who is currently in prison custody.

He’s charged that between September 16 and September 17 2017, he murdered Kayden McGuinness in the child’s home at Colmcille Court in the Bogside area.

He’s also charged that between the same dates he caused the death of Kayden McGuinness by failing to protect the child who, at the time, was at significant risk of serious physical harm being caused to him by the defendant.

The defendant is further charged with causing cruelty to Kayden McGuinness on dates between August 15 and September 6, 2017.

Applying for the adjournment, a barrister for the Public Prosecution Service also told Judge Babington that a prosecution witnesses in the case, a forensic medical officer, would be out of the country from September 18 to September 26.

Meanwhile, the defendant’s barrister, Ciaran Mallon QC, told Judge Babington that a defence application for exceptional funding had been refused by an adjudicator within the Legal Services Agency. Mr Mallon said the application had been submitted last May and no date for an appeal date against the adjudicator’s refusal had yet been set. He said the application had been made because of the exceptionally complex nature of the case.

Judge Babington said he would put “appropriate pressure on the Legal Services Commission to deal with this matter” prior to the trial starting.