Thursday 22 March 2018

Man guilty of manslaughter ‘at the most’ after finding victim in bed with his wife, court told

Natasha Reid

THE barrister for a man on trial charged with murder has said he is guilty of manslaughter at the most, because he was provoked after finding the deceased in bed with his wife.

Dominic McGinn SC was giving his closing speech in the Co Louth trial, where his 31-year-old client is charged with seriously injuring his wife and murdering her cousin.

Shahzad Hussain, of Woodland Avenue, Mosney, Co Meath, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Muhammad Arif, (32) on January 7, 2011.

He has also pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to Rashida Bibi Haider (now 41), and to intentionally or recklessly causing her serious harm.

He’s alleged to have stabbed them both in their livers on January 6, 2011 at Mr Arif’s apartment in Fitzwilliam Court, Dyer Street, Drogheda, Co Louth.

The accused and Ms Haider had moved out of that apartment separately in the previous month, after their arranged marriage encountered problems. All three are from Pakistan.

Mr Hussain testified during the trial that he arrived back to the apartment that afternoon to find his wife naked in Mr Arif’s bedroom, where Mr Arif was in bed.

He said he was trying to speak to her in the kitchen after she got dressed, when Mr Arif began teasing him that this was Europe and such things didn’t matter here. He said that the deceased shoved him and that he then grabbed a knife and stabbed Mr Arif with it.

Mr McGinn said yesterday that his client had lost complete control ‘because of the desperate scene he witnessed in the bedroom and Mr Arif’s goading’.

“It wasn’t the sight of his naked wife getting out of bed with Mr Arif that caused him to lose control, but it was Mr Arif being brazen about it,” he said. “That’s something he couldn’t have foreseen. That’s provocation. He lost control. That’s what this case is about.”

Mr McGinn said the accused was not guilty of causing his wife serious harm because ‘that was an accident’; Mr Hussain had said she must have sustained her two stab wounds after they fell while she was trying to pull the knife from his hand.

Mr McGinn also said that the prosecution had never explained what Ms Haider was doing in the apartment for the 10 minutes after her husband left, and why one of her stab wounds was longer than the other.

Ms Haider also testified during the trial. She said she was in the apartment collecting some things, when her husband arrived, became angry and stabbed her and her cousin. She underwent surgery on the day of the stabbings while Mr Arif died in hospital a day later.

Aileen Donnelly SC, prosecuting, said yesterday that it was nonsense to suggest that Ms Haider could have stabbed herself twice by pulling the knife down on herself or by falling on it.

“He came in, angry and annoyed that his wife had gone back to the house of Mr Arif… He went into the kitchen and assaulted his wife,” she said. “Mr Arif came into the kitchen. The knife was taken and deliberately plunged into Mr Arif.”

She said that we all knew that plunging even a blunt knife into someone ran the risk of causing serious injury.

“He wanted that to happen,” she said. “Mr Arif was interfering with his assault on his wife.”

She said the accused was not prepared to accept any responsibility in this case.

“He feels he’s done no wrong,” she said.

She urged the jury of nine men and three women to reject Mr Hussain’s account of what happened.

“You can and should reject it, because the prosecution has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he has murdered Muhammad Arif and caused serious injury to Rashida Bibi Haider,” she concluded.

The jury is expected to begin deliberating today after being charged by Mr Justice Barry White.

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News