Decision later on conviction appeal


A man who was jailed for life for stabbing his wife to death in front of their three children must wait until the new year to learn the outcome of his conviction appeal.

In March 2009 David Bourke (52) was sentenced to life imprisonment by Mr Justice Barry White after a Central Criminal Court jury found him guilty of the murder of his wife, Jean Gilbert (46), at the home they shared at Laverna Dale, Castleknock, Dublin 15, on August 28th, 2007.

The former insurance administrator had denied murder but admitted he stabbed his wife under severe provocation because she was going to leave him for another man.

Yesterday at the Court of Criminal Appeal, counsel for Bourke, Michael O'Higgins SC, said that the appeal came down to a contention that the trial judge gave a material misdirection to the jury on the law regarding the defence of provocation.

'Grossly wrong'

Mr Justice White, he said, had attempted to "rewrite the law on provocation".

He said the trial judge put it to the jury that they had to consider whether Bourke had carried out a calculated killing with intent to cause death or serious injury, in which case they could return a verdict of murder, or if the verdict could be reduced to manslaughter should they find Bourke was not master of his own mind and was so out of control he was not capable of acting rationally.

Mr O'Higgins submitted that this definition of provocation was "grossly wrong" and specifically excluded the possibility of the defence of provocation if the accused could form the intent.

Ms Isobel Kennedy SC, for the State, countered that there was "absolutely" no misstatement or error in law on the part of the trial judge in his charge to the jury.

She submitted Mr Justice White gave an "admirable" charge in "crystal-clear terms".