Jury told that accused used "unreasonable and excessive" force by beating man with baseball bat

Jooda Akanbi
Jooda Akanbi

A jury has been told that a murder accused claiming self defence used ‘unreasonable and excessive’ force when he hit another man over the head with a baseball bat on a busy street.

The prosecutor was giving his closing speech to the Central Criminal Court in the trial of a 39-year-old man charged with murder.

The trial has heard that a fight broke out between two men with baseball bats in broad daylight on October 10th, 2013 on Main Street, Swords, Co Dublin.

Jooda Akanbi (39) is charged with murdering 45-year-old Taiwo Jamani on November 13th, 2013, the date of his death in hospital due to a severe, traumatic brain injury.

Mr Akanbi of Ashton Avenue, Applewood in Swords has pleaded not guilty to murdering his fellow Nigerian.

Denis Vaughan Buckley SC, prosecuting, told the jury that self defence could reduce murder to manslaughter or result in a verdict of not guilty.

“I suggest there will be sufficient evidence that the deceased was murdered,” he said, however.

“The accused makes the case of self defence. There doesn’t seem to be much evidence that the deceased attacked him first,” he said. “I think all the evidence suggests that the aggressor was the accused.”

He summarised some of the evidence of several people, who witnessed the fight outside a bank around 12.20pm that day.

He described as ‘ludicrous’ a suggestion by the accused in the garda station that Mr Jamani had caused the injury to himself.

The trial heard that Mr Akanbi admitted hitting him over the head when gardai approached him at the scene, and again in court. However, he denied it during garda interviews.

“If you find the force was unreasonable and excessive, and we suggest it was, it would be open to you to bring in a verdict of murder,” he said.

“I submit there’s more than ample evidence on which you can come to a conclusion of guilty of murder or, at the very least, guilty of manslaughter,” he concluded.

The accused man’s barrister pointed out that the incident had happened ‘in a flash’.

Patrick Marrinan SC said that it was beyond comprehension that this would happen on a busy main street.

He said that the prosecution witnesses were, by and large, all at variances with each other, ‘a mish mash of accounts from ordinary people, who get it wrong on occasions’.

“The kernel of the case is that Mr Jamani left where he was and went down the street after the accused,” he said. “The accused didn’t leave the position he was in and go towards Mr Jamani.”

He noted that one witness agreed that it might have been the deceased, who took the first bat out of his client’s car.

“The accused struck a forceful blow to the top of his head; he fell to the ground,” he said, noting the pathologist’s finding that there had been a single blow.

“You might say that he took another man’s life and he has to be done for something,” he said. “Be very careful about that.”

He noted that there had been a history between the accused and the deceased, that the accused knew where the deceased lived and worked but never went there to attack him. He said that his client had called the gardai on both occasions when he had come into contact with him.

“Having had a year or so to do something, he decides to teach Mr Jamani a lesson in broad daylight on Swords Main Street,” he said. “It doesn’t really fit.”

He said it might well have been his client, who ended up being struck with a baseball bat that day.

The trial continues.