The trial of a man accused of shooting dead a Detective Garda in Castlerea two years ago has heard the stress of the incident was the main factor in his relapse into mental illness
Stephen Silver has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Colm Horkan in Castlerea on the 17th of June 2020, but guilty to his manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.
Day 19 of the trial at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin began with the cross examination of forensic psychiatrist, Dr Brenda Wright. She was questioned over her belief Mr Silver was suffering from a relapse of a mental disorder when he shot Colm Horkan and she was asked if the accused's behaviour during his five Garda interviews was a part of a defensive effort to avoid the evidence put in front of him.
Doctor Wright disagreed with this assertion and claimed that the behaviour was better explained by mental illness rather than efforts to avoid engagement. Referencing the report of Professor Harry Kennedy, who is the clinical professor of Forensic Psychiatry at the central mental hospital, it was put to Dr Wright that Stephen Silver's behaviour worsened over the course of the five interviews, from the first, 14 hours after the shooting to the 5th, 26 hours later.
She agreed with the statement, with the prosecution then asking if stress can be a major factor in someone relapsing into a mental condition such as Bi-Polar disorder, with the stress experienced by the defendant following the shooting posited as the cause of his relapse after the fact. State council claimed that prior to the shooting, Stephen Silver displayed 'intact function of capacity' and that his relapse occurred in the hours and days after.
Dr Wright argued that the accused had been experiencing increased stress in the days before the shooting, referencing relationship trouble between him and his Australian partner who had flown home that day.