Sunday, 5 October 2008

Dermot McArdle state prosecutor changes his charge from murder to manslaughter.

00:34 |

Spanish state prosecutor changed his charge from murder to manslaughter.Carlos Yanez told the jury he now believed Dermot McArdle pushed 28-year-old wife Kelly-Anne over the balcony of their Spanish hotel during a row but tried to save her before she fell to her death.And in a shock development he asked judge Fernando Gonzalez to jail McArdle for just four years if he is convicted of the lesser crime.
The lawyer opened the trial in the Costa del Sol town of Malaga on Tuesday demanding a murder conviction and a 14 year prison sentence for the factory manager from Haggardstown, Dundalk, Co Louth.Under the Spanish system McArdle may still be convicted of murder despite the state prosecutor now asking for his conviction on the lesser charge of manslaughter. Unlike in Ireland, there are three lawyers in court all representing different interests -- defence lawyer, state prosecutor and a lawyer prosecuting privately for Kelly Anne's family. Yesterday's move meant the private lawyer hired by Kelly-Anne's family now stands alone in claiming McArdle deliberately pushed the mum-of-two to her death from their fourth-floor room at Marbella's Melia Don Pepe Hotel on February 11, 2000.The jury therefore will have three choices on Monday when they begin to deliberate: acquit McArdle, convict him of murder or convict him of the lesser crime of manslaughter.
Prior to the state prosecutor's change of tack, they would have had only two choices, acquitting him or convicting him of murder.Mr Yanez stunned the courtroom into silence at the end of yesterday's court session by saying: "The state maintains that around 7pm on February 11, 2000, the accused started a heated argument with his wife in the room of their hotel."That argument continued on the balcony where the accused increased his abuse to the point that he used force against her which induced her in the direction of the balcony in such a way that she went over the balcony and was left holding on to a handrailAsking for McArdle to be convicted of the crime of manslaughter, he added: "We want him to be jailed for four years and ordered to pay €100,000 compensation to Kelly-Anne's parents and €60,000 compensation to each of her sons."The move left the dead woman's friends and relatives in a state of shock. The new accusation McArdle now faces carries a prison sentence of two and a half to four years.

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