The defence barrister in a Dublin murder trial at the Central Criminal Court has suggested to a prosecution witness that he might be the killer.
Padraig Dwyer SC was cross examining Ladislav Nemecheck in the trial of a 51-year-old Slovakian man charged with murdering his Polish flatmate in 2007.
Josef Szabo of Rathlin House, Waterville, Blanchardstown has pleaded not guilty to murdering Robert Kwiatkowski on April 20, 2007 at their home in Rathlin House. The 33-year-old died from a stab wound to the chest.
Mr Nemecheck and his partner Eva Kocokova shared the two-bedroom apartment with the defendant and the deceased.
The Slovak couple told the court through interpreters that they found Mr Kwiatkowski in the hallway that evening, after hearing a bang. They said the deceased had been arguing with the accused just beforehand.
Mr Dwyer pointed out a number of discrepancies between their statements to gardaí at the time and their testimony in court.
“I want to suggest to you that you’ve been telling a lot of lies to the jury,” he said to Mr Nemecheck, who denied lying.
“You told lies regarding Robert’s intoxication that night, about Robert pushing people around,” he said. Garda statements quoted Mr Nemecheck as saying the deceased came home drunk that evening and started to push people, but he told the jury this was not true.
“You told lies about you, your wife and Robert arguing about money, trying to play it down,” he said.
The court had heard that the deceased owed the couple at least €500 and had just told them he could not pay rent again that week. Garda statements described this as an argument but from the witness box, Mr Nemecheck said it was just a discussion.
“You’re telling lies to the jury about not seeing the stab wound, about the clean-up,” said Mr Dwyer.
The witness had testified that he did not know the victim had been stabbed until the ambulance arrived, despite giving him first aid chest compressions and massive bleeding. Before that he had been concentrating on getting the victim’s tongue out of his throat, he said.
“There’s a reason for all the lies, because you’re hiding something,” suggested the barrister.
“I’ve nothing to hide,” replied Mr Nemecheck. “I want the truth.”
Mr Dwyer said that that there was nobody else in the apartment and that the prosecution case seemed to be that by a process of elimination Mr Szabo was guilty.
“You say in your statement that Eve didn’t kill him and Mr Szabo says he didn’t kill him,” began Mr Dwyer.
“Then who did?” asked Mr Nemecheck.
“That leaves you. I’m suggesting it must be you,” said the barrister.
Mr Nemecheck said he and his partner were together and the accused was in his bedroom. He asked who else could have done it.
“I have to suggest that you and your wife have been telling a lot of lies to the court and that one or other of you are guilty of killing Robert, or someone else is but Mr Szabo is not,” said Mr Dwyer.
“I swear to God my partner and me have nothing to do with it,” said Mr Nemecheck, raising his voice.
“You also swore on the bible to tell the truth and the whole truth in this case and I suggest you didn’t,” concluded Mr Dwyer.
The trial continues before Mr Justice Barry White and a jury of three women and nine men.