South Dublin teen on trial for attempted murder
CCTV of a row has been shown to the jury in the trial of a south County Dublin teenager accused of the attempted murder of a man in the city centre last year.
Tadhg Costello (18) of Richmond Hill, Monkstown has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of Josh Leahy (18) at Johnson's Court in Dublin city on May 31, 2012.
He also pleaded not guilty at The Central Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Mr Leahy and unlawful possession of a knife on the same date.
Mr Paul Burns SC prosecuting told the jury that Mr Leahy, who is from Mountpleasant Square in Ranelagh, was stabbed several times on May 31 last year when he was aged 17.
Mr Burns said it was the prosecution’s case that Mr Costello, who was also 17, stabbed Mr Leahy in the back.
He told the court that on May 30, Mr Leahy was in a nightclub in South William Street with the number of friends.
Mr Costello and a number of his friends were also there that night, the court was told.
After leaving the nightclub, some words were exchanged and an altercation occurred between the two groups, he told the court.
Mr Burns said that in the course of the altercation Mr Costello stabbed Mr Leahy a number of times in the back.
Mr Costello and his friends went to St. Stephen’s Green and he was stopped by gardai there and arrested, the court heard.
Mr Burns said the jury would be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Costello stabbed Mr Leahy and did so intending to kill him and therefore is guilty as charged.
Mr Leahy gave evidence to the court that he went to The Lost Society nightclub on South William Street with two other friends on the night of May 30, last year.
He said he stayed at the nightclub until it closed at 2.30am or 3am and was walking up towards Grafton Street and the incident happened at the junction of Clarendon Street and Johnson’s Court.
Mr Leahy said he and his two friends met a group of eight people who started shouting at them as they were walking by.
He said he knew one of them, Sean Plunkett, who was going out with his ex-girlfriend Sarah Whelan.
Mr Leahy said he walked around the corner and the other group were all shouting at them.
“They were shouting at us, provoking us,” Mr Leahy told the court.
He said one of the men had a knife and was waving it at them and that his friend, ‘Daffy’, was hit by one of them.
He said about six of the men jumped on him and he tried to defend himself by putting his arms over his head.
Mr Leahy told the court that they were hitting him and threw him against a wall.
He said it lasted until he saw them running away and when he got to the top of the alleyway he saw a garda vehicle driving by.
Mr Leahy said his ex-girlfriend came up to ask him if he was alright and she told him he had been stabbed.
He said he was starting to lose his breath and the gardai called an ambulance, which took him to hospital.
Mr Leahy said he was stabbed seven times and had a punctured lung following the incident.
He told Mr Damien Colgan SC defending under cross-examination that he drank three pints of Heineken that night.
Mr Leahy said he got into the nightclub by using his friend’s ID because he was four years older than him.
Emmanuel Mihaylov told the court that he and Mr Leahy and another friend were on their way towards Clarendon Street when they came across a group of people.
He said there was shouting, intimidation and provocation coming from the group and that his friend Daffy was shouting back at them. He said another guy hit Daffy unexpectedly.
“Josh and Daffy are being hit by the lot of them,” said Mr Mihaylov.
Mr Mihaylov said he saw the accused standing two or three metres away holding a knife.
“I stood up and Tadhg Costello was holding a knife and facing me”, he said.
He said he went to hit a man who was attacking Mr Leahy but he was rugby tackled to the ground and nobody hit him after that.
He told the court one of the guys from the other group knew him from long time ago and told him to leave him alone.
Mr Mihaylov said Mr Leahy’s back was covered in blood and he could not breathe at all.
He said when Mr Leahy was taken to hospital he was driven around by gardai and he pointed out the accused.
Under cross-examination Mr Colgan put it to him he had said in his statement that Mr Leahy and another man did not get on.
“Basically Josh and Sean hate each other,” Mr Mihaylov said in the statement.
He agreed with Mr Colgan that he did not know Mr Costello and further agreed he had not seen the stabbing.
Garda Philip Gleeson said Mr Mihaylov pointed out the defendant as the person he observed with the knife.
Garda Mark Eccles said he asked the group of men to step out of the taxi they were in and onto a path.
He said he saw something shiny in the accused’s hand when he met him at St Stephen’s Green which he heard fall and land behind the railings.
Gda Eccles said he saw spattered blood on Mr Costello’s sleeves and said the accused denied his involvement.
“He was quite talkative and denied his involvement”, said Gda Eccles.
Gda Eccles said he informed him he found a knife that he threw and Mr Costello gave him a number of excuses.
“This isn’t my top I swapped it…I swapped tops with someone else in the nightclub…I was wearing a black Adidas top”, Mr Costello told Gda Eccles.
“I didn’t throw anything, I swear I didn’t throw anything,” he added.
Gda Eccles said he took the bloodstained penknife and put it inside a glove to preserve it.
He said he recognised the end of the knife as the shiny object he saw in Mr Costello’s hand.
The trial continues before a jury of eight women and four men with Mr Justice Paul Butler presiding.