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Trial latest Baseball bat used in Naas killing had dust and cobwebs on it, court hears

Zoltan Almasi (49) has pleaded not guilty to murdering Kildare man Joseph Dunne, but guilty to his manslaughter at Harbour View on May 16 2014

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The trial of a truck driver, who killed a 20-year-old man with a baseball bat, has heard that cobwebs and dust were found on the bat, when it was examined afterwards.

The jury heard the detail during the re-examination of the accused, who spent several days in the witness box as part of the defence case.

Zoltan Almasi (49), a Serbian man with an address at Harbour View, Naas, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Kildare man Joseph Dunne, but guilty to his manslaughter at Harbour View on May 16 2014.

The Central Criminal Court trial has heard that Mr Dunne died after receiving a blow to the back of his head, shattering his skull and driving the bone in towards the brain.

Mr Almasi had chased the deceased away from his van with a baseball bat, which he said was left in the house he rented by previous tenants. He said that he hadn’t realised that he had struck Mr Dunne with the bat until he later saw an ambulance and garda car in the area.

By this time, he had parked his van in his garage, taken a shower and was walking through Naas to meet his wife.

The accused entered the witness box in his defence last week before being cross-examined by Caroline Biggs SC, prosecuting, who asked if he had ever lifted the bat in his three years in the house. He said he didn’t remember.

He was then re-examined by his barrister, Barra McGrory QC.

“Would it surprise you to know that, when the bat was seized from the scene in 2014, there were cobwebs and dust on it?” he asked.

Ms Biggs pointed out that this question had not been put to any other witness.

“We didn’t know it was going to be asked,” he said of the question about lifting the bat. “It’s in disclosure. It’s part of the prosecution case.”

He repeated his question about the cobwebs to Mr Almasi.

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“Yeah, it can be possible,” he replied.

“Would you have used it before?” asked Mr McGrory.

“No,” he replied.

The jury also heard from a forensic civil engineer, who carried out an audio exam to find out if cars being banged on nearby Basin Street could have been heard in Mr Almasi’s bedroom that night.

A witness had testified that he had seen youths banging on cars there shortly before Mr Almasi said he was alerted to youths banging on his van outside his house.

Engineer Brian Muprhy told Mr McGrory that the sound could have travelled from Basin Street to Mr Almasi’s house. He also said that the area where Mr Almasi’s van was parked was a 23-second walk from where the cars on Basin Street were parked.

“The possibility is they (someone looking out Mr Almasi’s bedroom window) would have seen people at the van and misattributed the banging at the car for banging of the van,” he said.

Mr Murphy also studied the timings of when CCTV captured Mr Dunne leaving Basin Street and another camera captured him being chased onto Harbour View by Mr Almasi. He estimated that Mr Dunne was in the area of Mr Almasi’s van for about 34 seconds that night.

The defence has now closed its case and the trial judge has told the jury it will hear closing speeches from both sides tomorrow.

Mr Justice Michael White said that he will then explain the defence of provocation.

The trial continues before a jury of seven men and four women.

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