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Thursday 2 October 2014

Man accused of killing flatmate over bills pleads manslaughter

Published 24/03/2014 | 18:55

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The Central Criminal Court

The lawyer for a man who killed his flatmate after a row over bills has asked a jury to find him guilty of manslaughter rather than murder.

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Jacky Lumi (42) is on trial at the Central Criminal Court, where he has pleaded not guilty to murdering fellow Dutch national Kamal El Habsati on December 1st 2012.

The Moroccan-born 31-year-old was found in their Dublin apartment with a knife protruding from his heart, after his employer raised the alert a few days later. He had 21 stab wounds.

His flatmate and colleague, Jacky Lumi, had fled across Europe by the time of the discovery at Linnbhla, Santry Cross in Ballymun.

He returned to Ireland voluntarily, after handing himself in to police in Rome.

Patrick Marrinan SC, defending, yesterday told the jurors that it was the categorisation of the killing they had to decide.

“The accused isn’t seeking to justify what he did,” he said in his closing speech.

He said the law recognised that a person could temporarily lose control and act completely out of character. The law provided the defence of provocation, which could reduce murder to manslaughter.

He said that of course it was complete nonsense to be arguing about internet and electricity bills.

“But was it nonsense as far as the accused was concerned?” he asked.

He said the straw that broke the camel’s back was when the deceased told him that he wouldn’t pay the bill and was planning to leave the apartment.

This was the point at which Mr Lumi jumped up and began fighting with his flatmate, who had been cooking.

Mr Lumi said that he felt a sting on his hand during the fight, saw a knife in the deceased man’s hand, and used his martial arts training to take the knife from him.

“If Kamal had turned around and said here’s your €8.70, we wouldn’t be here today. It’s a simple as that,” said Mr Marrinan.

However, the State argued that provocation could not be used, because the accused had set up the situation.

Caroline Biggs SC, prosecuting, pointed out that the accused had disconnected Mr El Habsati’s internet in order to get him out of his bedroom.

“The accused set up a situation where he wanted to fight the deceased,” she said. “It was the deceased who was provoked.”

She said it was very important to distinguish between loss of self control and temper or rage.

She said his use of his martial arts to get the knife from the deceased was indicative of self control, as was his cleaning of the scene afterwards.

“There’s a clear and clinical ability by Mr Lumi to drag the body into the bathroom, the knife still in the chest,” she said.

She pointed to one of Mr Lumi’s admissions to gardai: “I remember clearly that I pushed the knife into him to kill him.”

“This is a case of murder, plain and simple,” she concluded.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy has now begun charging the jury of seven men and five women, who will begin deliberating today (Tuesday).

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