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Monday 20 November 2017

'You wouldn't believe what I'm after doing...I made a mistake'

"THREE blows, two deaths in a matter of seconds."

Summed up succinctly by defence counsel Patrick Gageby, this is the shockingly brief chain of events that led to a trial for double murder. As presiding judge Liam McKechnie put it, "this is not a complex case", with the entire sorry saga spread out over a mere half-hour period on the evening of February 23, 2008.

It was shortly after 6pm that day when Polish man Pawel Kalite went to the chipper close to his house on Benbulben Road. Minutes later, he and his flatmate Marius Szwajkos lay dying outside their house, each having been stabbed in the head with a screwdriver. Murder accused David Curran has admitted the manslaughter of the two men but denies murder, while his co-accused Sean Keogh also denies murder.

However, as the trial entered its fourth week yesterday, Mr Gageby, for Keogh, gave the eight men and four women of the jury further food for thought.

It was in fact a "party of five" that had been involved throughout almost every minute of the incident on that fateful evening. David Curran's young cousin had become embroiled in a row with Pawel Kalite, while two young female acquaintances also became involved.

Witnesses have given varying testimonies as to who summoned David Curran to the scene and for what reason, but in any event he arrived soon after in the company of Sean Keogh.

Fixing the jury with his gaze, Mr Gageby remarked: "We have to question the extent to which the girls and (Curran's cousin) are the engine for this. They're pumping it up."





Stared

Furthermore, he suggested: "Those who encourage crime are as much to blame as those who give in and commit crime."

Twelve pairs of eyes stared back at him from the jury bench as he continued: "It seems the plan was already set in stone as this party of five walked up the road. This is a motley crew of rather hyper young people," he added.

Earlier Curran's counsel, Giollaiosa O'Lideadha, had pointed out the speed at which his client had stabbed the two men.

Added to this, said Mr Gageby, was Sean Keogh's "unattractive behaviour". When a stricken Pawel Kalite was still falling to the ground after being stabbed, Keogh had kicked him in the head. There were several witnesses at the scene that day, yet none of them had pinpointed Keogh as having carried out any physical violence. He would have been easily identifiable, clad as he was in a bright blue jacket. Yet, as Mr Gageby remarked, nobody had pointed the finger at 'Mr Blue Jacket' as the perpetrator of any violence against the two Polish men. It was not until Keogh himself admitted to gardai what he had done that his role in the incident emerged.

Mr Gageby's assessment of his client's behaviour was clinical -- it was "inexcusable" he said, "a terrible act". Yet he insisted that Keogh could never have known as he set off up Benbulben Road that his accomplice would wind up killing two men.

Or, as he colourfully remarked: "How is my client to know 'I'm on a plan here with a homicidal maniac?'"

Once Sean Keogh realised what was happening, "he ceased to fight".

He ran off home to Inchicore, pausing to sit on the steps of an apartment block as he held his head in his hands. A neighbour had passed by him so he looked up and admitted: "You would not believe what I'm after doing. I'm after making a mistake."

Across the room sat the 12 members of the jury who were due to begin deliberating this morning.

Despite having sat through 14 days of a grim trial, they must now consider the evidence "coldly and clinically".

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