Client acquitted of murder

David Sonn

20 March 2023

Our client was aged 17 when he was charged with the murder his grandmother, with whom he was living at the time of her death in January 2021.

The deceased died as a result of multiple stab wounds whilst in the bathtub. Our client admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility but denied having had the necessary intent for murder. The prosecution pursued a conviction for murder.

An expert psychiatrist was instructed by the defence to assess the defendant. He was of the opinion that our client was suffering from an acute and transient psychotic episode at the time of the killing. The prosecution also instructed a psychiatrist, who rejected the opinion of the defence instructed expert. The issue for the jury was whether they accepted our client was suffering from a medical condition at the time of the killing which impaired his ability to form a rational judgment or exercise self-control, and whether that provided an explanation for his actions in relation to his grandmother’s death.

Our client was unanimously acquitted of murder by a jury, who accepted the partial defence of diminished responsibility. This case was widely reported in both the national and local press.

This case was prepared by David Sonn, assisted by Leah Connolly, Olivia Rawlings and Frederick Legg. Sarah Elliot KC, Kate O’Raghallaigh and Daniella Waddoup of Doughty Street Chambers were instructed.

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