Sunday 22 September 2019

Alleged victim of stabbing that left one man dead describes harrowing altercation

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Eoin Reynolds

An alleged victim of an assault in which his friend died described the lead-up to the fatal stabbing at a murder trial today.

Conor Hogan from Taghmon in Wexford told prosecution counsel John O'Kelly SC that he was out with his friend James Banville celebrating his first week in a new job on October 8, 2016. He described how himself and Mr Banville drank in a few pubs and twice assaulted Brazilian national Juraci Da Silva on the streets of Waterford City before Mr Da Silva ran after them and stabbed them, leaving Mr Hogan needing stitches and Mr Banville dead from his injuries.

Mr Da Silva (36), with an address at Park Lane in Waterford, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of 28-year-old James Banville at New Street in Waterford on October 8, 2016. His plea was not accepted by the State and he is on trial at the Central Criminal Court. Mr Da Silva has also pleaded not guilty to assaulting Mr Hogan causing him harm and to a charge of producing a knife on the same date and at the same place.

Taking the stand Mr Hogan said he met James Banville at about 5pm in Wexford, went to a friend's house nearby and then drove to Waterford City, arriving at about 10pm. They went to some pubs in the city centre, including Sinnott's and Mason's. Later on he said he met Mr Da Silva in an alleyway identified in court as Cross Lane.

The witness told counsel: "He wouldn't go away. He kept on coming over and we told him to go away and he wouldn't so we hit him. Me and J [Mr Banville] hit him."

Mr Hogan said he and Mr Banville then went to a pub but he couldn't remember if they were able to get in. They then decided to return to the car, which was parked on Newgate Street to the north of the city centre. On their way they met Mr Da Silva again at the steps of the Park Lane Apartments where Mr Hogan said he assaulted Mr Da Silva again. Mr Banville and Mr Hogan then walked on towards the car but as they walked along New Street he heard the accused "shouting and screaming" and running towards them.

He said: "He ran at me and stabbed me and then he ran at J and he stabbed J."

At first he didn't realise that Mr Da Silva had a knife but then Mr Banville collapsed.

Mr Hogan required about ten stitches.

The jury also saw CCTV footage showing the movements of Mr Banville and Mr Hogan and the accused man on the night. Detective Sergeant Michael Cawley told defence counsel Cephas Power BL that the two assaults on Mr Da Silva were caught on CCTV but the fatal incident took place in an area not covered by cameras.

The trial continues tomorrow in front of Justice Michael Kelly and a jury of six men and six women.

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