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No further evidence in Consett manslaughter trial
THE trial of two brothers accused of the manslaughter of a club doorman has come to a dramatic halt after prosecutors offered no further evidence.
Peter Jopling died of bleeding from a burst artery following a fight involving John and Scott McKean outside Decades, in Consett, County Durham.
For the last two weeks they have been on trial at Newcastle Crown Court for his manslaughter, but today, (Friday, October 18) at the end of the prosecution case, they pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of affray.
Graham Reeds QC told the court it followed a review of the medical evidence and discussions with the family of the 40-year-old doorman from Shotley Bridge.
He said: “In light of a review of the evidence and extensive discussions, we have concluded that its right and in the interests of justice for the Crown to offer no further evidence for the charge of manslaughter.”
The jury had been told trouble flared after charge hand John McKean, 37, was asked to leave the club for lighting a cigarette at about 3.20am on December 12, 2010.
Former lorry driver Scott McKean, 38, also got involved and after some ‘pushing and shoving’, they were both ejected from the club through the fire door.
Mr Jopling, who had been unaware of a weakness in the wall of his renal artery, collapsed minutes after the incident but medical experts during the trial were unable to agree whether the rupture of an aneurysm that led to his death was directly linked to the violence.
Gerry Sydenham, Head of the Crown Court Unit at the Crown Prosecution Service North-East, said: “In light of the medical issues, it became apparent that it would be extremely difficult to prove conclusively the charge of manslaughter. I would hope that this outcome brings some measure of closure to the family of Peter Jopling.”
The McKean’s, both of Durham Road, Blackhill, entered guilty pleas to affray and ‘not guilty’ verdicts were officially recorded for the manslaughter charge.
Alistair MacDonald QC, who represented John McKean, said: “We pay tribute to the fairness of the Crown and pay tribute to the family of Mr Jopling. This was a tragedy of great proportion.”
Judge Paul Sloan QC adjourned the case for the preparation of pre-sentence reports until November 14.
He said: “All sentencing options remain open and that does include custody.”
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