Rattigan trial enters closing stages

The jury at the trial of a Dublin man accused of murder has been listening to closing speeches from the prosecution and the defence in the Central Criminal Court today.

Brian Rattigan (aged 28), Cooley Rd, Drimnagh, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Declan Gavin (aged 21) Mourne Rd, Driminagh, at Crumlin Rd, Crumlin on August 25, 2001.

It is the prosecution’s case that Mr Rattigan got out of a Nissan Micra that pulled up outside Abrakebabra fast food outlet at the Crumlin shopping centre before he "made for Declan Gavin" with a knife.

In her closing speech Ms Pauline Walley SC, prosecuting, described the fatal stabbing of Declan Gavin as "a targeted, deliberate killing".

Ms Walley SC, told the jury that this was not a case where there was direct evidence pointing to the guilt of Mr Rattigan but rather that the evidence in this case was circumstantial.

She said:"There is a number of different strands of circumstantial evidence, each on their own would not convict, when you weave them together there is only one logical explanation and that is that Brian Rattigan was the knifeman."

Ms Walley SC told the jury that foremost amongst theses strands of evidence was Brian Rattigan’s palm print in what appeared to be blood found on the window of Abrakebabra.

She said: "When Brian Rattigan placed his left palm on the door of Abrakebabra he convicted himself."

Ms Walley SC said the palm print of Brian Rattigan in what appeared to be blood was found four inches above an area from which a swab of blood was taken, which was later matched to Mr Gavin.

She told the jury: "The prosecution submits that you use your common sense that this was Declan Gavin’s blood in the palm mark."

Ms Walley SC said that when Mr Rattigan was interviewed by gardaí 11 days after the alleged murder he told them he had not been to Abrakebabra in four months.

"You know that is a lie because you know the window pane in Abrakebabra was replaced some nine days before the killing and the windows were cleaned every Monday, Wednesday and Friday."

She told the jury: "‘The prosecution submit that Mr Rattigan lied for one reason and one reason only which was that he was the murderer."

Mr Brendan Grehan SC, defending, told the jury that what the prosecution’s case boiled down to was that Mr Rattigan’s prints were at the scene therefore he is guilty.

He said: "There is no mention whatsoever of the other 19 prints found at the scene which have never been identified."

Earlier in the day, Mr Grehan SC, told the jury that Mr Rattigan has been in prison continuously since February 2003, and has been serving cumulative sentences totalling 13 years.

Mr Grehan SC, told the jury: "Mr Rattigan is no angel nor does he pretend to be."

"Let us not try to be fooling about it and pretend there is something entirely different sitting behind me, there is not - That is Mr Rattigan."

Referring to the memos of interview between gardaí and Mr Rattigan, Mr Grehan SC said they gave a flavour of the accused which was not "a very refined one".

Mr Grehan SC said: "When you strip everything else away from this case all you have is the fingerprint and of course, the blood."

He told the jury the blood swab which was found to match Declan Gavin’s blood did not come from the fingerprint but four inches below.

"You have Mr Rattigan’s left palm print on the window of Abrakebabra and it is in a faint red-brown substance but no conclusive link between that and Declan Gavin or Declan Gavin’s blood."

Mr Grehan SC told the jury: "The prosecution say there are enough strands which can be woven together to form a rope to hang Mr Rattigan. I submit the so-called strands are little more than threads which by themselves and even together go nowhere to being enough to convict Mr Rattigan."

The jury is expected to retire tomorrow afternoon after being charged by Mr Justice George Birmingham.

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