A man accused of murdering a Nigerian teen in what has been described as a row with racial undertones told gardaí he did not see his brother carrying a knife when they went after the group of teens to try and retrieve his mobile phone.
Michael Barry told gardaí in his initial interview, that prior to the stabbing of Toyosi Shittabey, he was “extremely annoyed, worked up and I just wanted my phone back.”
It was day six of the trial of Michael Barry (26) of Pigeon House Road, Ringsend in Dublin 4 who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Nigerian teenager Toyosi Shittabey (15) on April 2, 2010 at The Boulevard, Mount Eustace in Tyrrelstown, Dublin 15. Mr Barry has also pleaded not guilty of producing a baseball bat in the course of a dispute.
It is the prosecution's case that Michael's brother Paul, who is now deceased, inflicted the stab wound on Toyosi but that Michael was an accessory to the murder, following what has been described as a row with racial undertones.
The jury were read the transcripts of the interviews Mr Barry gave gardaí on the night of the murder when he was arrested. He admitted to gardaí he told Paul to get into the jeep with him as they were going after the youths to “grab one to see if he had my phone.”
“I probably would have given him a few slaps,” Michael admitted to gardaí. He said he did not see Paul carrying any weapon when he got out of the jeep at the roundabout at The Boulevard.
He said prior to the two of them driving after the teens in the jeep, he was sitting in it trying to work his GPS system on his phone, when a group of teenagers approached his brother Paul. He said he heard the group and his brother “swearing back and forth” outside Paul's house at Mount Garrett Rise.
He said he got out of the jeep and tried to reason with the teens by telling them “to move on” and pretended that he was a member of An Garda Siochana.
“The girl with blonde hair just laughed and then the rest of the group came over and I put my hands out between Paul and the group when I got kicked in the hand and my phone fell out,” Mr Barry told gardaí.
He told gardaí he and Paul were hit in the face and he had swung at a male black teen who was kicking Paul.
“I was on the ground trying to protect my head and got kicked in the ribs. The group of teens were still mouthing off and one of them started to taunt us with a screw driver,” he told gardaí.
He said he saw one of the black male teens pick up something which looked like his mobile phone saying “this is nice, or this is alright” and he said they ran away. He said he did not see his brother's partner Colette coming out of the house with a baseball bat.
He asked Colette to ring his mobile phone and he said she told him one of the group had answered it.
He agreed with gardaí he was “driving in a rage” when they went after the teens to try and retrieve his mobile phone.
He said although there was a baton in the jeep, Paul did not take the baton out and he did not tell Michael whether he was going to do anything to the youths.
“When we got to the roundabout, Paul got out of the jeep and he approached two of the youths. I don't know what was said but then as another car came up behind me, I drove forward to let it pass, and saw the rest of the group running towards Paul and the two lads,” he said.
He said he then shouted at Paul to get into the jeep as he thought they were “going to get another hiding,” from the group of teens.
He said when Paul got back into the jeep the two of them “mumbled crap, how surreal, annoyed and pissed off we were.”
“I didn't notice any blood on Paul and only realised something serious had happened when gardaí told me,” Paul told gardaí.
He admitted he felt “all over the place, like a plug pulled out of a sink, drained and low” when gardaí informed him during his interviews that someone had died on the night.
Detective Garda Tom Cooney gave evidence that a phone call was made from Colette Murphy's phone to Michael's phone at 8.03pm and lasted for five seconds. He also confirmed that he had asked one of the teens, Bobby Kuti (18), for his phone but he could not provide it as he said it was broken. He confirmed a further teen, Glen Lupepe (18) declined to give evidence in court and did not co-operate with gardaí.
The prosecution's case has now closed.
The trial went into legal argument for the afternoon and is expected to resume before Mr Justice Barry White and a jury of seven men and five women in the morning.