JURORS in the trial of three men accused of murdering a 20-year-old in Mirfield no longer have to decide whether any of the defendants were carrying a knife.
Joe Church, Aaron Smith and Naseem Rashid have been on trial for the murder of Josh Hirst outside his Grove Street home in August last year.
They were also facing a charge of possessing an offensive weapon but this afternoon the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC discharged them from deciding a verdict on that count.
He said: “It’s apparent that the role of the knife is going to be very important in relation to the murder charge and your decision about the knife very much effects how you view the murder charge.”
He said the jury would still be asked to deliver verdicts on the murder charge but also gave them the option of finding any of the defendants guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Church, 21, of Redlands Close, Mirfield, Smith, 19, of Saville Street, Emley and Rashid, 21, of Lapwing View, Horbury all deny murder and manslaughter. The case continues.