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Thursday 8 December 2016

Prisoner stabbed after row over TV channels in jail kitchen, trial told

Brian Veale pleaded not guilty
Brian Veale pleaded not guilty

A prisoner is alleged to have stabbed a fellow inmate in the kitchen of Cork Prison after an argument over switching television channels, a murder trial has heard.

Brian Veale (31) of Dominic Street, Cork has pleaded not guilty to murdering Graham Johnson on May 16, 2015.

Opening the prosecution case at the Central Criminal Court yesterday, Mr Tim O'Leary SC said that both men were inmates at Cork Prison and knew each other.

Counsel told the jury that the men were working in the kitchen when there was "some type of verbal altercation" at around 3pm on May 16.

Mr O'Leary said it would be alleged that an altercation arose between the two men "over a switching of a TV channel".

Counsel told the jury they would hear that the altercation took place and finished but sometime after 5pm Mr Veale "came across a part of the kitchen with a knife" and stabbed the deceased in the chest.

He said the jury would hear from State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy about "the nature of the damage" that was done to the deceased and how Mr Johnson died from a single stab wound to the front of the chest.

Wound

The court heard that the tract wound "was downwards into the body" and consistent "with a single downward thrust through the chest wall".

Counsel said the jury would hear that Mr Johnson's death occurred quickly and that some people in the kitchen did not see exactly what had happened.

"You will hear Mr Johnson falls down in the kitchen area after they (both men) are seen together. You will hear the relative calm of Mr Veale after the event. You will hear other evidence in relation to the kitchen staff," he said.

The court heard that inmates who worked in the kitchen had access to knives for cutting up vegetables.

"They (kitchen staff) would have white tops and trousers and you will hear that there was blood found on Mr Veale's top and bottom. You will hear from forensics that this blood matched Mr Johnson's blood," counsel said.

There would be witnesses to give evidence of Mr Veale's demeanour from before and after the events, the court heard.

Intent

"You have to prove that the accused intended to kill or cause serious harm to Mr Johnson. He was killed by a stab wound to the chest," he said.

In conclusion, Mr O'Leary told the court that the prosecution's case was that it was Mr Veale who walked across the kitchen to Mr Johnson "two hours later" and stabbed him.

"After hearing the evidence you should have no doubt that Mr Veale is guilty as accused of the crime of murder," he said.

The trial continues before Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy and a jury of seven men and five women.

It is expected to last five days.

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