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Australian court hears `severe intoxication' factor in alleged killing by Donegal men

The two men are charged with murdering Paul William Tavelardis. Picture by RTÉ

SEVERE intoxication will form a major part in the defence of two Donegal men accused of murder in Australia.

It is alleged that Irish tourists Christopher McLaughlin (25) and Nathan Kelly (22) murdered Paul William Tavelardis in the Summer Hill suburb of Sydney.

The incident happened on January 19 this year.

The men had initially been charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm.

When Mr Tavelardis (66) died in hospital on March 4, their charges were upgraded.

Yesterday, the two men appeared in the New South Wales Supreme Court on a video link from prison.

Neither entered a plea via their barrister, Margaret Cunneen.

Justice Elizabeth Fullerton told Ms Cunneen it was clear that "very, very severe intoxication by alcohol" was a factor.

She added that there was "some degree of incapacity" by the pair at the time of the incident.

Attempts at setting a trial date early in 2020 have so far failed as there has been no agreement between the prosecution and defence on key facts regarding intoxication.

The two men will next appear in the same court on February 14 next year.

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