Thursday 23 November 2017

'We don't go looking for revenge' - Man (36) on trial for fatally stabbing victim (28) to death after assault

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

Eoin Reynolds

A Brazilian man was out for revenge when he stabbed another man to death after being assaulted in the early hours of the morning, a prosecution barrister told a murder trial jury today.

Juraci 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.

He also pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to Wexford man Conor Hogan and he pleaded not guilty to a third count of producing a knife. All charges relate to the same location and date.

Opening the trial today John O'Kelly SC for the prosecution told the jury they would see CCTV footage showing that Mr Banville and Mr Hogan twice assaulted the accused over a 20 minute period but then left him and walked away. After a little hesitation, he said, Mr Da Silva followed the two men, produced a long knife and inflicted the fatal injury on Mr Banville. He said Mr Hogan was also injured but recovered fully.

Counsel said it was about 2.55am when the first assault on the accused happened. The city centre was busy. The pubs and nightclubs had closed and people were wandering around, getting food or heading home. Bar workers, having finished their shifts, were on the street.

Mr Da Silva first met the deceased and Conor Hogan on John's Lane, where he talked to them before they assaulted him. Mr Da Silva then went to his nearby home and changed his clothes, reemerging after a short time wearing a red jacket. Less than 20 minutes after the first assault Mr Da Silva is seen on CCTV talking to two women when Mr Hogan and Mr Banville walked by, saw Mr Da Silva, and assaulted him again.

Mr O'Kelly said these assaults do not reflect "any credit" on Mr Hogan or Mr Banville, but they then left the area and walked to an adjoining street. Mr Da Silva ran after them, produced a knife, and the third and fatal confrontation took place at New Street at about 3.15am.

Mr O'Kelly said that if a person is assaulted they are entitled to defend themselves but not to seek revenge. "That is what happened here," he said, adding that in a civilised society victims of assault go to the gardai.

Counsel said the jury might feel anger or even outrage over the first two assaults but that hurt feelings cannot justify such a "terrible revenge".

He added: "When he followed them in to New Street and produced a knife that wasn't self defence, they weren't attacking him. They had gone away in to the next street so anything he did at that stage could never amount to self defence."

Mr O'Kelly further explained to the jury that for an unlawful death to be murder, the accused person must have intended to kill or cause serious injury. He added that the only possible intent when a person stabs someone in the chest is at least to cause "very serious injury".

At the beginning of the trial Colman Cody SC for the defence told the jury that it is accepted that Mr Da Silva inflicted the wound that led to the death of Mr Banville and that he used the knife found near the scene.

The jury saw CCTV footage of the movements of the three men in the build up to the fatal knife attack.

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

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