A Dublin man has been acquitted of a taxi driver’s manslaughter in the city over two years ago.
William Keegan, 27, of Pearse House, Pearse Street had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the unlawful killing of 41-year-old Moses Ayanwole on Pearse Street, Dublin on November 23, 2011.
The jury spent four hours deliberating over two days before returning the unanimous not guilty verdict.
Judge Desmond Hogan thanked the jury members for their care and attention, noting that this case had been “very emotional”.
He commended them for dealing with the trial within the legal principles he had outlined to them. One juror was visibly upset as she left the court room.
Judge Hogan told Mr Keegan, who was also in tears, that he was free to go.
Mr Keegan said in interview that he and four others had decided to get a cab from a Pearse Street pub into the city centre, but taxi driver Mr Ayanwole wouldn’t take five passengers. Mr Keegan said he was left behind in the car as the others in his group jumped out and immediately got a different cab.
He said he thought Mr Ayanwole was pursuing him across the road after he got out of the car because he wanted money for a fare, even though the vehicle hadn’t moved.
“If I didn’t hit him, he would have hit me. He was not getting out of the taxi for nothing,” Mr Keegan told gardai.
Detective Garda Mark Looby told Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, that Mr Keegan asked about Mr Ayanwole’s age and family during interview. Det Gda Looby explained that Mr Ayanwole had still been alive when the accused was questioned.
He said Mr Keegan told him: “I’ll say a prayer. I hope he pulls through.”
An eyewitness, student Fionn Cooper, told Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting that he and a friend had been walking along Pearse Street after a night out when he saw a taxi stopped outside a pub. He said a backseat passenger got out of the vehicle and the driver followed.
Mr Cooper said he thought the driver tipped the passenger on the shoulder before the passenger immediately turned around and struck the driver, who fell back and hit his head off the ground.
Mr Coffey read a number of statements from fire brigade paramedic crew. The crew members each described how Mr Ayanwole had a large bump on his head and was conscious but unresponsive at the scene.
They said the deceased ripped off a cervical collar twice before vomiting.
Mr Coffey also read out a statement of a St James’s Hospital doctor, who told gardai Mr Ayanwole’s CT scan showed he had suffered a severe and inoperable brain trauma.
Former Deputy State Pathologist, Dr Khalid Jaber, told Mr Coffey that the cause of death was serious, significant brain damage.
He said this was from a blunt force trauma to the head, which caused Mr Ayanwole to fall backwards from a standing position.