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In a recent court case in Limerick, Ireland, Stephen Bourke faced charges of manslaughter in connection with the death of his father, Patrick Bourke, on September 24th of last year. The Grand Jury had initially rejected a bill for wilful murder, but the prosecution pursued charges of manslaughter against the accused.

The courtroom heard that both Stephen and his father, Patrick Bourke, worked as tinsmiths at Arthur’s Quay in the city. The prosecution, led by the Attorney General, outlined the details of the case, emphasizing that the incident occurred at a location well-known to the jury. The tragic event unfolded at a specific area on Arthur’s Quay, where the depth into which Patrick Bourke fell was nine feet six inches, and the height of the protecting wall was two feet three inches and a half.

The Attorney General acknowledged that the deceased, Patrick Bourke, was an elderly man with a history of alcohol addiction. However, he stressed that such factors did not justify the use of violence. According to the prosecution, Stephen Bourke was observed striking his father multiple times with an unidentified object. Despite the severe injuries inflicted, Stephen Bourke reportedly tried to assist his father after realizing the extent of the harm.

The medical evidence presented during the trial supported the prosecution’s case. Dr John Holmes, the Resident Surgeon at Barrington’s Hospital, testified that Patrick Bourke’s death resulted from a fracture of the skull and laceration of the brain. The nature of the wounds suggested that they could have been caused by the blow of a metal bar.

In response, the defence argued that the incident may have been a tragic accident. It was suggested that Patrick Bourke, who was allegedly intoxicated, came to the door of his son’s workshop. The son went outside, but there was no direct physical confrontation between them. The defence contended that the older man staggered backward and accidentally fell over the parapet wall into the area.

After considering the evidence, the jury, during a brief deliberation of twenty minutes, returned a verdict of manslaughter against Stephen Bourke. However, they accompanied their decision with a strong recommendation for mercy. Taking into account the accused’s character and the absence of doubt in his excellent standing, the presiding judge decided to release Stephen Bourke on his own recognizances of £50 and two sureties of €20 each.

The judge, while acknowledging the tragedy of the situation, emphasized that this case should serve as a warning against resorting to violence. The accused, having spent time in custody since September 27th, is now free under certain conditions, with a reminder to refrain from violence in the future.

Dublin Daily Express – Friday 06 December 1912

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