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Jury set to retire in trial of man for pal's knife murder

THE jury in the trial of a man accused of murdering one of his closest friends and seriously injuring another, were expected to begin deliberations today.

Trial judge Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy has instructed the six men and six women to reach a unanimous decision.

He said there was "no contention" that the accused man, Martin Toland (right), of Walkinstown Park, Dublin, had inflicted the wounds on the deceased, Alan Nolan, and on James Carroll, who suffered stab wounds to the heart and stomach.

The 34-year-old has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Nolan (28), at his apartment in Cedarbrook Walk, Ballyfermot, in the early hours of September 8th, 2007.

He has also denied the second charge of recklessly or intentionally causing serious harm to Mr Carroll (30), on the same date. The accused told gardai that he was acting in self-defence. He said the two men attacked him, and he had been trying to retreat from the house, "jabbing" the knife in front of him in an effort to keep his friends back.

During the case, the Central Criminal Court heard that the three men had spent the night in question drinking, playing PlayStation games and poker at Mr Nolan's apartment.

In the early hours of the morning, a fight broke out between Mr Nolan and the accused over a series of phone calls the deceased had received, the jury was told.