Murder accused says he was afraid for his life

Jooda Akanbi
Jooda Akanbi

A 39-year-old man has told his murder trial that he was afraid for his life when he hit another man over the head with a baseball bat on a town’s main street one afternoon.

The accused spent this afternoon giving evidence in his defence to the Central Criminal Court.

The trial has heard that the charge against him arose out of a fight between two men on October 10th, 2013 on Main Street, Swords. One of the men died in hospital a month later due to a severe, traumatic brain injury.

Jooda Akanbi (39) is charged with murdering 45-year-old Taiwo Jamani on November 13th, 2013, the date of his death in Beaumont Hospital.

He was also charged with intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to his fellow Nigerian on October 10th, 2013.

Mr Akanbi of Ashton Avenue, Applewood in Swords pleaded not guilty to both charges. He said his actions were in self-defence and went on trial last week.

However, Mr Justice Tony Hunt told the jury yesterday that the second count, the allegation of a non-fatal offence, would be struck from the issue paper it would receive.

“It’s there on a precautionary basis in case there was an issue about causation of death,” he said, adding that there was now no such issue in the case.

“The death was caused by the reactions of the accused,” he said.

The prosecution then closed its case and the defence called Mr Akanbi to the witness box.

He said that he had fallen out with the deceased months before the fight in Swords.

He claimed that the deceased had shown him how to make money fraudulently with cheques and that he had also offered to sell him land in Nigeria.

He testified that he didn’t want to involve himself with the cheques and learned that there was no land. However, he said he told the accused that he would get back to him about the cheques and didn’t mention that he knew there was no land.

He said that the deceased later accused him of telling somebody about the cheques. Mr Akanbi said he denied this.

Mr Akanbi said he then learned that the deceased had made a copy of Mr Akanbi’s wife’s passport. He said he threatened to go the gardai anything came of it.

The accused claimed that he was warned to stop going to Balbriggan, where the deceased lived. He said he took the advice because he didn’t want a confrontation.

He said that, on the day of the fight, he had been driving along the main street in Swords when he saw Mr Jamani. He said that the deceased had told him: “If I catch you, I will beat you.”

He claimed that he thought he was trying to scare him and pulled into the first parking space he saw, as planned.

He said he went to take a folder out of his boot and noticed Mr Jamani was beside him.

“He said to me: ‘Did you think you could hide, that I would never find you?’ I screamed to him: ‘What do you want from me?’” he testified. “He punched me in the jaw straight away. I just hit him back.”

He said that the deceased grabbed a baseball bat out of his boot, that he grabbed another and told him to back off.

He said that the deceased had just come for him and that he had lifted his left hand to block his Mr Jamani’s bat.

“He hit me,” he said. “He came a second time.”

His barrister, Patrick Marrinan SC, asked how he inflicted the fatal blow.

“I can see the baseball bat hitting his shoulder. I just see him fall down,” he said.

Asked if he had struck him over the head with the bat, he agreed he had.

Mr Marrinan asked him how he felt about having killed another man.

“I feel very bad,” he said. “I feel sick every day.”

Under cross examination by the State, he agreed that he had lied to gardai by telling them that Mr Jamani had hit himself with his own bat after it hit Mr Akanbi’s arm.

“That is what I thought before because it was very fast,” he told prosecutor Denis Vaughan Buckley SC.

The barrister asked him if he had lost his temper.

“I didn’t. I was afraid of my life,” he cried. “He’s very scary.”