A man who denies intending to kill his teenage neighbour with a slash-hook raised his arms in victory after inflicting the fatal wound, the Court of Appeal has heard.
Joseph Joyce is seeking to overturn his conviction for murdering John Paul McDonagh during a street battle in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.
The 33-year-old claims he acted in self-defence after coming under attack in April 2020.
But counsel for the prosecution argued that CCTV footage shows Joyce arrived at the scene armed for a fight he intended to win.
Barra McGrory KC said: “He comes marching out onto the street and stands ready for battle.
“There are points in the footage in which he clearly considers that he has beaten off the McDonaghs and he raises his arms in victory.”
Mr McDonagh, 18, sustained a fatal leg wound in the confrontation outside Joyce’s home at Coolcullen Meadow.
The victim and his two brothers, who lived at nearby Drumawell Gardens, became involved in a violent row with the defendant over noise from a party.
Footage played at the trial showed Joyce standing in the street holding a slash-hook and a plastic bottle filled with ammonia.
He claimed the brothers were armed with a knife, bottle and garden spade, and that he only responded to protect himself and his family.
Joyce subsequently expressed remorse for Mr McDonagh’s death and the loss suffered by the victim’s relatives.
In October last year, however, he was jailed for a minimum of 10 years after being found guilty of murder.
But the Court of Appeal was told that the jury should have been directed on a potential alternative verdict of manslaughter.
Defence counsel Desmond Fahy KC insisted the weapon was used defensively, with only a single blow to the lower part of Mr McDonagh’s body.
In response, Mr McGrory rejected submissions Joyce had no intention to inflict any serious harm.
He argued that anyone swinging the scythe would have known its ability to cause “very significant physical damage”.
“The evidence, I submit, suggests that this man’s intention was to establish his superiority over the McDonaghs,” the barrister claimed.
Reserving judgment, Lady Chief Justice pledged to rule on the appeal as soon as possible.
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