Thursday 23 February 2017

Lawyer calls for murder verdict in screwdriver trial

Natasha Reid

A Central Criminal Court jury was yesterday told that if ever there was a case of murder, then the stabbing in the heads of two Polish men outside their home, was it.

John O'Kelly was giving the closing speech for the prosecution in the trial of two Dubliners charged with murdering the Polish mechanics.

Pawel Kalite (28) and Marius Szwajkos (27) died after being stabbed through their skulls with a screwdriver on Benbulben Road, Drimnagh, on February 23, 2008. David Curran (19), of Lissadel Green, Drimnagh, has pleaded not guilty to murdering them but guilty to their manslaughter. Sean Keogh (21) of Vincent Street West, Inchicore, has pleaded not guilty to the double murder.

"If you attack someone with a screwdriver, you're going to cause death or at least serious injury," said Mr O'Kelly. "I'm asking you to bring in a verdict of guilty against both men on both charges."

Mr O'Kelly said that both defendants did what they set out to do -- attack the mechanics. "You have the clear admission from David Curran that he stabbed these men in the head," he said. "Sean Keogh was part of the common design."

Mr Keogh said he was with his 'mate' when he got a call to say there was a fight, Mr O'Kelly reminded the jury. They went to the scene together to sort out whoever was in the fight, Mr Curran with a screwdriver in his hand, as seen by witnesses.

"It would be very odd if the only person not aware of the screwdriver was Sean Keogh," he said. He pointed out that Mr Keogh kicked one of the men in the head after Mr Curran had stabbed him.

"He wasn't so horrified at seeing someone stabbed through the skull that he said: 'Hang on, I don't want to be any part of this'," he said.

Mr O'Kelly said he did not accept Mr Curran's defence of provocation, which could reduce murder to manslaughter. Mr Curran said he believed his father had been stabbed and was therefore 'out of control'.

He described as 'a concoction' Mr Curran's story of receiving a call to say his father had been stabbed.

He reminded the jury that a teenage girl testified to ringing him to tell him there was a fight at the chipper but she said there was no mention of his father.

Giollaiosa O Lideadha, defending Mr Curran, said that it would be much better if we had a law here that allowed for different degrees of manslaughter and murder. He said the system would operate in a fairer way if we had.

Earlier, he had called a neuro-pharmacologist to give evidence of the action within the brain of drugs Mr Curran said he took that day. Dr Brian Kirby said benzodiazepines were anti-anxiety medicines but sometimes had the opposite effect, leading to agitation and, in some cases, rages and aggression.

Mr O Lideadha will conclude his closing speech on Tuesday.

Irish Independent

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