Published Thursday, 05 December 2013
The stabbing happened in July 2012. (© UTV)
Raymond Johnston, 34 and of Abbey Drive, Enniskillen, had been charged with murdering his younger brother David, but before a jury could be sworn to hear his Omagh Crown Court trial, defence QC John McCrudden asked for him to be rearraigned.
When that charge was put to him again Johnston said he was 'not guilty' of his 32-year-old brother's murder, "but guilty to the unlawful act of manslaughter".
Mr Justice Weir, who agreed to switch sentencing to Belfast in the New Year, warned Johnston that he faced "a significant custodial sentence in light of the charge" of the unlawful killing of his brother in the early hours of 13 July, 2012.
Earlier, prosecution QC Terence Mooney said that having reviewed all "the issues ..... we are of the opinion that the plea now made satisfies the interests of justice" and that they would not be proceeding with the charge of murder.
Johnston had been set to go on trial earlier this week, but Mr McCrudden explained that a number "of very important matters" had to be considered in the case.
Mr McCrudden described the case as essentially and fundamentally, highly unusual and tragic, and one where Johnston should be granted bail over Christmas, a period for families, which would also allow for a pre-sentence report on him to be carried out in that family setting.
No details surrounding the tragic events of that night were given to the court, but an earlier bail hearing, following his arrest, heard that after the stabbing, his young brother made a final phone call to his mother and sister, telling them: "I'm dying here, I'm losing blood."
The court also heard that Johnston's last recollection was that his brother was holding a large knife in his hand, threatening to rape his fiancee and cut him up "like a fish".
Johnston, was released on continuing bail, under the same conditions, that he surrenders his passport, abides by a curfew from 10pm until 7am, wears an electronic tag and reports to Enniskillen Police Station three days a week.
He is also banned from drinking alcohol and entering licensed premises, must submit to a preliminary breath test when required and have no contact with his deceased brother's girlfriend.
© UTV News