Father cleared of murdering man in fight 'like something out of Star Wars'
Published 28/04/2015 | 02:30
A father-of-four has been cleared of murdering a man with a baseball bat in broad daylight on a busy street in what one witness described as "like something out of Star Wars".
A two-week trial at the Central Criminal Court heard that a fight broke out between two men with baseball bats shortly before lunchtime on October 10, 2013, on Main Street in Swords, north Dublin.
Murder accused Jooda Akanbi (39) claimed he was acting in self-defence when he hit Taiwo Jamani (45) over the head with the bat.
Mr Akanbi, of Ashton Avenue, Applewood, Swords had pleaded not guilty to murdering his fellow Nigerian.
The trial heard that both men had fallen out the year before the incident and no longer saw each other. However, their paths crossed around 12.20pm, when Mr Akanbi drove his car down Main Street in Swords, passing the deceased on the footpath.
Mr Akanbi pulled into a parking spot further down the street, opened his boot, got out and went to the back of the car. He testified that he was getting documents out of the boot for a meeting.
Mr Jamani crossed the road to the accused, there was shouting and each man took a baseball bat out of the boot of the car.
Mr Akanbi said the deceased was the first to raise his hand, punching him in the jaw before grabbing a bat. He testified that it was only then that he took the second bat out of the car.
One witness described the fight as "like something out of Star Wars".
Mr Jamani suffered blunt force trauma to the head and died from his injuries on November 13.
Despite the incident having taken place on a busy street, it was not captured on any of the 12 CCTV cameras in the area. Jurors had to decide what happened based on the testimony of witnesses and of Mr Akanbi.
The five women and seven men of the jury yesterday found Mr Akanbi not guilty.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt thanked the jury and discharged the accused, who became emotional as he embraced his wife and left the courtroom.