Murder accused was in 'life or death situation', court told

Robbie Walsh

A murder accused was in a “life or death situation” and acting in self-defence on the night he stabbed a man who later died, a jury at the Central Criminal Court has been told.

Robbie Walsh (23), from Island View, Kilrush, Co Clare, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Karl ‘Gobble’ Haugh (25) in the Marian Estate in Kilkee, Co Clare on August 6, 2017.

Patrick Gageby SC, prosecuting, and Brendan Grehan SC, defending, made their closing arguments in the case before Ms Justice Carmel Stewart and a jury this morning.

The court has previously heard Robbie Walsh and his cousins, Mitchell Walsh and Clinton Walsh, also from Kilrush, went to the Marian Estate on the Saturday night of the August Bank Holiday weekend in 2017 to smash up Mr Haugh’s car.

Its also heard Mitchell Walsh carried a knife, while Robbie Walsh and Clinton Walsh, or all three, carried metal bars.

The decision to vandalise Mr Haugh’s car followed an alleged separate physical altercation between Clinton Walsh and Mr Haugh earlier in the evening - when Clinton Walsh allegedly sought to get cocaine from Mr Haugh.

The jury has also previously seen video footage of Robbie Walsh telling Det Garda Rouine, of Kilrush Garda Station that, during an altercation between him and Mr Haugh, Mr Haugh “got a belt” across his shoulder from someone else and this caused Mr Haugh to drop a knife he was holding.

Robbie Walsh said he picked the knife up, Mr Haugh then grabbed him and started dragging him around “like a rag doll”. Robbie Walsh told Det Garda Rouine, as he was being dragged around, he then swung his right arm around and stabbed Mr Haugh in the back.

This morning Mr Grehan SC, defending, told the jury the accused could have dropped the knife and taken a beating but “then there might be somebody else on trial here today”.

Mr Grehan added:

[Taking a beating] is not what’s programmed in our DNA. What’s programmed in our DNA is to survive.

Mr Gageby SC, prosecuting, recalled the evidence of Anthony Lucey, who lived next-door to the deceased, and how he told the court that before Mr Haugh was stabbed, the three Walsh men were outside his house with Mitchell Walsh asking “where does Gobble live?”

Mr Gageby also said either Clinton or Mitchell Walsh asked if Mr Lucey was a “pussy”.

Mr Gageby said: “He [Mr Lucey] told you [the jury] they were angry and agitated and he called the gardaí.”

Mr Gageby asked the jury to consider if the three Walshes went to the Marian Estate with the sole intention of trashing Mr Haugh’s car, why did they “knock on doors” looking for Mr Haugh’s home and why did they call Mr Lucey a “pussy”.

“I want to suggest, at a minimum, there’s a very large question mark over the idea it was just for a bit of vandalism,” he asked.

Karl Haugh

Mr Gageby told the jury that to sustain a charge of murder, the prosecution must establish an intention to kill or an intention to cause serious injury.

He said: “Stabbing someone in back with a knife is not a trivial matter and a person is presumed to intend the natural and probable consequences of their actions.”

He also recalled the evidence of one witness [Michael O’Gorman] who said he met Mitchell Walsh on a street in Kilkee earlier that Saturday night and who claimed Mitchell Walsh told him: “We own this town, I feel like stabbing someone.”

Mr Gageby said there was “no justification” for the stabbing of Mr Haugh.

Mr Grehan SC, defending, told the jury, Robbie Walsh has “always maintained he did this”.

Mr Grehan said Robbie Walsh “wasn’t one of the aggressors” and, instead, was “sucked in” by his cousins and their actions. Mr Grehan said Robbie Walsh was the “voice of reason” and a “peacemaker” on the night.

He recalled a recorded phone call which took place between Robbie Walsh and Mr Haugh before the Walshes went to Marian Estate in which Robbie Walsh told Mr Haugh “these two fucking eejits are drunk, leave this to tomorrow”.

Mr Grehan said Mr Haugh told Mr Walsh: “Look, you know what’s going to happen, I’ll put this guy [either Clinton or Mitchell Walsh] to sleep.”

Mr Grehan also said it wasn’t Robbie Walsh who shouted “come out, you pussy” outside Mr Lucey’s house because Robbie Walsh knew where Mr Haugh lived

“Was he leading his cousins to Karl Haugh’s door? No,” Mr Grehan said.

Mr Grehan said the jury cannot “impute into Robbie Walsh’s mind whatever mad way Mitchell Walsh was behaving on the night”.

Counsel said “if someone is waving a knife at you”, a person can’t be excepted to consider what would be the reasonable response.

He added that, in Robbie Walsh’s own words, he “thought he was fucked”.

Mr Grehan said Karl Haugh was “bigger, stronger, and tougher” than Robbie Walsh.

This is a situation where somebody acted in total self-defence, they were being attacked with a knife. It was a life and death situation none of us would ever like to be in.

The trial will resumes with Ms Carmel Stewart giving her directions to the jury from 11am tomorrow.

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