Four members of the same family, including a father and son, appeared in court on Friday when they admitted charges relating to the shotgun killing of a relative at a traveller wedding almost three years ago.
Bernard ‘Barney’ McGinley was shot dead outside St Mary’s Church in Newtownbutler on February 11, 2015. The 63-year old, from Co Longford, was gunned down in front of his wife and grandchildren.
Patrick McGinley (49), from Ardlougher Road in Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh, his 29-year old son William McGinley, from Sallyswood in Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh, Patrick McGinley (24) from Lisfarrell in Edgeworthstown, Co Longfond, and a youth, who cannot be named due to his age, had previously pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr McGinley and attempting to murder his son Bernard Oliver McGinley.
All four defendants were due to stand trial on Monday, February 12, 2018 at Dungannon Crown Court. The trial was expected to last up to six weeks.
But at Belfast Crown Court, amid tight security, defence barristers for the four defendants asked them to be re-arraigned on the charges they faced.
Patrick McGinley (49) pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to “manslaughter’’.
William McGinley pleaded not guilty to attempted murder but pleaded guilty to “wounding with intent”.
Prosecution counself Neil Connor QC told the court that a new charge had now been added to the indictment in respect of the two remaining defendants.
Patrick McGinley (24) and the youth both pleaded guilty to a new charge of affray.
Mr Connor told judge Mr Justice Adrian Colton that the guilty pleas were “acceptable to the prosecution”.
He asked for the remaining charges to be “left on the books and not to be proceeded with without the leave of the Crown Court or the Court of Appeal”.
Mr Connor added that a victim impact report on Mr McGinley’s widow had already been completed. Mrs McGinley and family relatives were present in court for the hearing.
Defence barristers for a number of the defendants said they would be producing medical reports for the sentencing hearing.
Mr Justice Colton ordered pre-sentence reports on all four defendants and released them on continuing bail ahead of the sentencing hearing in six weeks’ time on Friday, March 23.
Following the shooting, Bernard McGinley was airlifted to hospital after being shot moments before the wedding was due to start, where he later died of his injuries.
He is understood to be the uncle of 49-year-old Patrick McGinley.