Strabane man's murder trial halted over coronavirus fears

Strabane man's murder trial halted over coronavirus fears
Ciara Maguire

Reporter:

Ciara Maguire

Email:

ciara.maguire@strabaneweekly.co.uk

THE trial of a Strabane man accused of murdering his wife during an Easter boating holiday in Co Fermanagh has been abandoned due to the impact of coronavirus.

Stephen McKinney (43), who is originally from the town but now with an address at Castletown Square, Fintona, denies murdering 35-year-old Lu Na McKinney in a drowning incident on Lough Erne in April 2017.

His trial had been due to enter its fourth week and had been expected to resume at Dungannon Crown Court today (Wednesday).

Presiding judge Madam Justice McBride called off the trial and described it as "a time of unprecedented emergency".

She said social distancing "clearly has serious implications for this trial" and two members of the jury had advised the court they are in the vulnerable group.

The judge said in light of government advice and in discussion with the Lord Chief Justice the trial "realistically cannot processed".

Judge McBride advised the legal teams: "In these circumstances I will discharge the jury."

McKinney was released on continuing bail with a date for a new trial has yet to be fixed

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