Murder trial jury hears closing speeches

A murder trial jury has heard that the deceased was "in the right place at the right time" when "he was "kicked to death" and "left to die".

Lukasz Rzeszutko (aged 27) was on his way to work in the Newtown Industrial Estate in Coolock when he was fatally attacked on October 2, 2010.

The Polish man was found unconscious by a colleague and died in hospital two days later.

A Central Criminal Court jury today heard closing speeches in the trial of the Dublin man charged with his murder.

Martin Morgan (aged 20) of Tonlegee Road, Raheny has pleaded not guilty to murdering the young man, but guilty to his manslaughter. However, the DPP did not accept this plea.

Two other Dublin men charged with murdering Mr Rzeszutko entered the same pleas as Morgan.

Stephen Byrne (aged 18) of St Donagh’s Road, Donaghmede; and Morgan’s cousin, Edward Byrne, (aged 21) of Cabra Park, Cabra had their pleas to manslaughter accepted by the DPP. They will be sentenced later.

"Lukasz Rzeszutko was a man in the right place at the right time, doing what he was supposed to be doing," said prosecuting barrister Aileen Donnelly SC.

"At 4.21am, he was moments away from his work, where he was due to start at 4.30am, where he'd worked for three years, working his way up from the factory floor," she added.

"This was not a fight," she said. "This was a man, who was simply overpowered and overwhelmed by three people. It was an assault."

She said that the assault took a maximum of one minute and seven seconds, relying on CCTV footage that caught surrounding events but not the killing.

"During that time, Lukasz Rzeszutko was accosted over on the footpath, tried to get away, ended up on the ground and was left dying there," she said.

She noted that doctors described his injuries as un-survivable when he arrived in hospital.

"He didn't have a single broken bone in his body other than in his head," she said. "But he had nine fractures on the left side of his skull."

She also reminded the jury of the hinge fracture, which separated part of his head, leaving his skull on a hinge and allowing brain matter outside the skull. She noted that the central part of his face suffered multiple fractures.

"All of these injuries are consistent with blunt force trauma, which arises from kicking and stamping, the allegations in this case," she said.

"It’s the prosecution case that Martin Morgan kicked him in the head and stamped on him. That’s the factual issue you have to decide,” she said.

She said she relied on the evidence of the two teenaged witnesses, one of whom said she saw him do this and the other who said he admitted to jumping on the victim’s head.

The barrister also relied on forensic evidence, which found the victim’s blood on the defendant’s shoes in a pattern that meant it was likely he had kicked and/or stamped on the deceased.

“The swift and sudden nature of the assault, the violence of the injuries and the force needed to inflict them demonstrate that he was kicking and/or stamping on his head,” she said.

She said the other main issue the jury had to decide was the defendant’s intention; she asked what the natural and probable consequences were of kicking and/or stamping on someone’s head.

“I say that when you’ve analysed the evidence, you’ll be satisfied that Martin Morgan is guilty of murder,” she said.

Paul McDermott SC, defending, said there was an absence of crystal clarity as to what exactly was done by whom.

“There were three people involved in this short period,” he said.

He reminded the jury that two people were on trial at the start of the case, his client and Stephen Byrne.

“The DPP was ready to prosecute that case to you on the basis of joint enterprise,” he said. “That required some sort of agreement between them.”

He recalled that the jury was told then that it may be impossible to say which blow killed Mr Rzeszutko.

“And it is impossible to say,” he added.

“If you have a doubt as to who did what to the deceased, where does that lead you as to the guilt of this man?” he asked.

When it came to what was in the minds of the killers, he pointed to the short time in which the killing took place.

“It’s a horrible event and it develops,” he said. “Why? We do not know; it’s utterly inexplicable.”

He said that before Stephen Byrne approached the victim, the intention of all three was to go home.

“Within a very, very short period of seconds, this man’s life is at risk,” he said, pointing out that his client did not approach the victim until 17 seconds after Stephen Byrne.

“There was no intent to kill this man,” he said.

“Whatever happens here happens spontaneously. It is not a planned event,” he added. “(It was) a wrong and spontaneous eruption of violence that doesn’t carry with it an intention to kill.”

He said that his client did not kick and/or stamp on the victim’s head. He also said that just because his client was the last to leave the victim did not mean he had inflicted the fatal blows.

“The concentrated period was when the three were on the street with the unfortunate man and not merely Mr Morgan,” he concluded.

Mr Justice Barry White will charge the jury of seven women and five men tomorrow morning.

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