Thursday 14 December 2017

Man goes on trial for manslaughter of taxi driver following alleged argument over fare

William Keegan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
William Keegan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Dublin man has gone on trial for the manslaughter of a taxi driver in the city two years ago.

William Keegan (27) of Pearse House, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the unlawful killing of 41-year-old Moses Ayanwole in Dublin on November 23, 2011.

In his opening address to the jury, prosecution counsel Maurice Coffey BL said that this is what legal practitioners call a “one punch case” and that it was a “tragic” assault manslaughter case.

Mr Coffey told the jury that there will be evidence that Mr Keegan punched Mr Ayanwole once after a minor dispute on Pearse Street, which caused him to fall and hit the back of his head on the pavement.

He said Mr Ayanwole lost consciousness and was brought to hospital, where he died two days later on November 23, 2011.

Counsel read out a statement from an eye witness, Edward Bradley, who said he had been outside the Padraig Pearse pub having a smoke after midnight when he saw the accused hit Mr Ayanwole.

This witness told gardai he’d heard the two men shouting and heard the slap from the impact, but didn’t see the taxi driver fall on the ground.

This witness added that he saw Mr Keegan then run off in the direction of his home.

Another witness, Thomas Gannon, told Mr Coffey that he had been standing at the pub’s side door when he met the accused, who appeared nervous and upset. He said Mr Keegan told him he either punched or pushed a taxi man.

Mr Gannon told counsel that he had managed Mr Keegan in a local football team and that he had never known him to be the aggressive type.

He said he saw Mr Ayanwole across the road with a number of people talking to him and at that time the taxi driver seemed to have just been upset.

Mr Gannon said that he didn’t “put two and two together” initially when he heard the next day that a taxi man had been brought to hospital.

Mr Coffey read a number of statements from fire brigade paramedic crew. The crew members each described how Mr Ayanwole had a large bump on his head and was conscious but unresponsive at the scene.

They said the deceased ripped off a cervical collar twice before vomiting.

Mr Coffey also read out a statement of a St James’s Hospital doctor, who told gardai Mr Ayanwole’s CT scan showed he had suffered a severe and inoperable brain trauma.

Former Deputy State Pathologist, Dr Khalid Jaber, told Mr Coffey that the cause of death was serious, significant brain damage.

He said this was from a blunt force trauma to the head, which caused Mr Ayanwole to fall backwards from a standing position.

He said he noted bruising to the outside of Mr Ayanwole’s right eye, which could have been caused by the brain bouncing forward in the skull when the back of the head hit the ground.

Dr Jaber agreed with Remy Farrell SC, defending, that Mr Ayanwole could have been struck on the left side of the face, which was also slightly discoloured, but he added that the autopsy evidence suggested the blow was to the right side.

The trial continues before Judge Desmond Hogan and jury of six men and six women.

Irish Independent

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