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Delays in forensic report sees Crown Court trial into alleged puppy killer postponed

The case against a Co Armagh man who allegedly battered a puppy to death with a hammer in Lurgan will not go ahead as planned Monday because of delays in forensic reports.

The 23-year-old, from Lurgan, is charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a chihuahua crossbreed puppy, named Sparky, on February 3 last year.

Kyle Keegan, whose most address is given as Rodney Drive, Belfast, appeared at Craigavon Crown Court on Tuesday for a review of the case, a trial for which was set to begin next week.

The defendant had entered pleas of not guilty to the two charges against him when he appeared at the same court back in November.

It was previously heard how the bloodied remains of the 12-week-old pup were uncovered in a bin in Ailsbury Park in Lurgan following a party at the property.

An initial post-mortem on the pup’s remains revealed how Sparky had sustained a number of fractures as well as severe brain trauma.

Defence barrister Barry McKenna stated: “Regarding the trial date of next week, the defence have a difficulty with expert evidence.

“Furthermore, a prosecution forensic report was served on me this morning”.

He informed the court that the report, which he sought to be before the court, would not be ready for an estimated four to five weeks.

Prosecution barrister Nicola Auret said that she did accept the late delivery of a forensic report.

Court heard that this related to a “mixed profile” of DNA being found on the hammer, which Keegan allegedly used.

Ms Auret stated: “During interview, the defendant did claim that his DNA may have been on the hammer as he may have come into contact with it at an earlier stage”.

She also stated that if the case was adjourned, she would prefer that it was done in advance as there was a witness in the case who would be travelling from Scotland.

Mr McKenna commented that Keegan’s parents were present and that he had spoken to them, apologising for the delay in his expert report.

Judge Donna McColgan QC stated: “We will take this matter out of the list for trial on Monday but leave it in as a review.

“On that occasion, we will fix a date, once we have a firm indication from experts as to when the report is likely to be in”.

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