Northern Ireland

Oisin McGrath: Teenager charged over playground death

Oisin McGrath Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Oisin McGrath died in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast in February 2015

A teenager who went to school with a 13-year-old County Fermanagh boy who died following a playground incident has been charged with manslaughter.

Francis McDermott, 19, from Camphill Park in Newtownbutler, appeared at Enniskillen Magistrate's Court on Monday.

He is accused of unlawfully killing Oisin McGrath in February 2015.

Oisin was taken to hospital following an incident at St Michael's College, Enniskillen, he died four days later.

His parents Nigel and Sharon McGrath, who were in court for the short hearing, have since set up a foundation in Oisin's memory to raise awareness of organ donation, brain injury research and local youth sports development.

Image caption Mr McDermott was released on bail until his next court appearance

A solicitor for Mr McDermott told the court that he had been specifically instructed "to express continuing sympathy for the family of the deceased".

He said: "what happened on the 9th February 2015 has devastated two families.

'Loss and devastation'

"While we have instructions to represent Francis McDermott, he and his family have asked that we state publicly that their ordeal is nothing compared to the loss and devastation that the death of Oisin McGrath has caused to his family.

"Francis will carry the memory and affect of what happened in the schoolyard on that day with him for the rest of his life."

The solicitor added that the defendant understood the stress the criminal justice system has had and may impose, but that he had been instructed to "try and minimise the pain that we know this process will have for the McGrath family".

The district judge said those were "laudable sentiments in the context of an extremely difficult set of circumstances".

Mr McDermott confirmed that he understood the charge and when asked if he had anything to say he replied "not at this time".

He was released on his own bail of £500 until 21 February for his next court appearance at a crown court.

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