Sunday 17 December 2017

Racist row in lead up to murder of Toyosi (15), court hears

Nicola Donnelly

THE trial of a man accused of murdering a 15-year-old Nigerian boy, who was stabbed through the heart with a knife following a row with racial undertones, has opened at the Central Criminal Court.

Michael Barry (26) has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Nigerian teenager Toyosi Shittabey (15) on April 2, 2010 at The Boulevard, Mount Eustace in Tyrrelstown, Dublin 15.

He further pleaded not guilty of producing, in the course of a dispute, an article capable of inflicting serious injury, namely a baseball bat.

Addressing the jury on the opening day of the trial, counsel for the prosecution, Mr Brendan Grehan, SC, said it is the prosecution's case that Michael Barry's now deceased brother Paul (39) murdered Toyosi and that Michael Barry was an accessory to the murder.

“Michael Barry's actions are that he was clearly supportive and facilitated the killing and in those circumstances it is the prosecution's case that he is guilty of the offence of murder even though he did not carry out the act of murder itself,” said Mr Grehan.

Mr Grehan told the jury they will hear evidence that the victim, Toyosi Shittabey, was with four black males and five white females when they passed a green area outside Paul Barry's brother house at Mount Garrett in Tyrrelstown.

Counsel said it one of the girls asked Michael and Paul for a light for a cigarette which resulted in a verbal row with racist undertones including the words 'Niggers' being used and Bobby Kuti took offence and threw a punch at the Barry brothers.

Prosecution say it appears Michael and Paul Barry were outnumbered and called for weapons to be brought out from the house by Paul's partner Colette Murphy and a baseball bat was given to the accused.

“There is no suggestion that the accused struck anyone with the baseball bat but appeared to have been pivotal in ending the initial incident as the young group then ran away,” Mr Grehan told the jury.

In the aftermath, Michael Barry discovered his mobile phone had gone missing and drew the conclusion that one of the youths had taken the phone which resulted in a fatal decision by Michael to attempt to locate the youths and retrieve his mobile phone. The accused got into a Nissan jeep with Paul, who had been drinking, and came across the group at the Boulevard roundabout.

Prosecution counsel said there are varying accounts as to what happened next but that it is the prosecution's case that Paul Barry armed himself with a knife and got out of the jeep and chased one of the black youths with the knife. Toyosi came to help his friend and in an attempt to intervene Paul Barry swung around and the knife ended up in Toyosi's chest.

It is the prosecution's case that Paul Barry withdrew the knife and went back to the jeep and Michael Barry drove away from the scene.

Ambulance crew arrived at the scene and brought Toyosi to Blanchardstown Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9.05pm.

Mr Grehan said neither the mobile phone which Michael Barry, of Pigeon House Road, Ringsend in Dublin 4, believed had been taken nor the knife have ever been recovered or identified.

Mr Grehan said the earlier incident outside Paul Barry's house was “unsavoury” and does not reflect well on anyone involved. “However,” he said, “it did not justify what happened after.”

“Michael Barry's actions are that he was clearly supportive and facilitated the killing and in those circumstances it is the prosecution's case that he is guilty of the offence of murder even though he did not carry out the act of murder itself but it is the offence of his involvement in the murder and possession of a baseball bat he is charged with,” said Mr Grehan.

Stephen Agbedi (19) gave evidence that while they were on the green they heard raised voices and his friend Bobby Kuti shouting “Why are you calling us niggers?”. He said punches were thrown and he went to help get Bobby away from the two brothers.

He said they all ran away when a baseball bat was produced by Michael and later saw a black Nissan jeep approach them with the two men in it. He said the smaller guy, Paul Barry, got out of the jeep and pointed a knife at Gracia Lulendo when Toyosi ran over to him and Paul turned to him and stabbed him in the chest.

“Toyosi was running and holding his chest saying “Boys, he stabbed me. Boys, he stabbed me,” said Stephen.

He said dialled the emergency services when Toyosi fell to the ground.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Barry White and a jury of seven men and five women.

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