Claims of a 'conspiracy' against Da Silva by the Cawleys

Marisa Reidy

THE Central Criminal Court in Tralee has been told that one of the men accused of murdering Bruno Lemas de Sousa in a north Kerry bog had been implicated by his co-accused and his family, and is innocent of the crime.


Defending Wenio Rodriquez da Silva (29), John Peart SC referred to the 'Cawley Conspiracy' between his co-accused John Paul Cawley and his brother and sister, who he claimed were 'preying' on his client in order to save themselves.

Both men, of Ardoughter, Ballyduff, deny murdering Mr De Sousa at Shronowen bog, Tullamore between February 16 and 17, 2012.

Mr Peart said that although his client had admitted striking Mr de Sousa over the head at a house in Ballyduff, it was John Paul Cawley who admitted stabbing him in the bog when interviewed by gardaí. He said that Mr Cawley's statement and evidence from his sister Sandra that Mr da Silva admitted to the killing was 'scurrilous' and should be ignored. It in no way proved his client's involvement he argued, while insisting that the State had not made a successful case against his client.

He said Sandra Cawley and their other brother Charlie - who were both at the bog at the time of the killing - had ample opportunity to release Mr de Sousa from their home, but did not.

He also dismissed evidence of a friend of the victim, Weslley da Carvalho Gomez, who said Mr da Silva confessed to killing Mr de Sousa in the bog. He said this evidence was totally unreliable as the witness first told the court how Mr da Silva made his admission while they were both fixing a car, but when cross examined said it was after two other men - who were also working on the car - had left.

He said John Paul Cawley was on the run from the gardaí at the time of the offence - as he was wanted on suspicion of stabbing another sister's boyfriend - and that was the reason the Cawley family did not go to the police. He said the defence of diminished responsibility was put forward simply as a way of getting out of the murder charge. He accused the Cawley family of preying on his client.

"There's a lot of mud slinging and suspicion in this case, but none of this proves murder," he said.

John Paul Cawley's defence barrister, Anthony Sammon SC, described this theory as an insult to the intelligence of the jury. He reminded his colleague that the jury heard 'devastating and crushing evidence' from Mr Gomez as to how Mr da Silva admitted killing the victim.

He also accused Mr Peart of omitting the fact that John Paul Cawley later told gardaí how both he and Mr da Silva had killed the victim.

Mr Sammon also referred to text messages that were allegedly sent by Mr da Silva to the victim's partner after the murder, purporting to be from the deceased man.

"No one else in the country at this time could have such a devious interest in communicating with that poor man's girlfriend.," he said.

He said that to try and imply that Mr da Silva was not involved in the death of Mr de Sousa was 'nonsense.'

The jury was expected to begin their deliberations this morning (Wednesday).


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