Murder case is very weak, trial jury told

Murder victim Jolanta Lubiene's husband Marius Lubys, mother Raute Santiene,   and sister Kristina Kuleviciene  leave Tralee courthouse yesterday.

The case against a Lithuanian man charged with murdering a mother and her daughter is "not the finished article" and "very weak", his defence counsel has told a jury.

Brendan Grehan, defending, Aurimas Andruska, aged 28, also claimed no motive had been established for the crime, which he described as savage and brutal, and suggested something sinister in the finding of his client’s fingerprint on blood in the home of the victims.

The accused, a forestry worker, of Ardmoniel Heights, Killorglin, Co Kerry, denies the murders of Jolanta Lubiene, aged 27, and her daughter, Enrika, aged 8, at their home, 9 Langford Downs, Killorglin, between June 15 and 17, 2013.

In his closing address to the Central Criminal Court, sitting in Tralee, Mr Grehan said that, without in any way making a moral judgement on Ms Lubiene, quite a body of men had been through her house and she was seeking company on websites.

Fifty or 60 men had to give DNA samples during the investigation, he added.

Mr Grehan submitted that the prosecution was placing much emphasis on a single fingerprint in blood on a stairwell wall, but the gardaí had failed to identify another significant mark on a wall.

The fingerprint was the only mark of the accused man on the whole bloody scene and it was simply extraordinary that there was no other, or even lots of other similar prints, belonging to the accused.

He said fingerprint experts had been found to be wrong in the past and urged the jury to consider “whether something a little bit more sinister was going on here in terms of planting of prints”.

He also said the accused had been entirely consistent from the beginning and had never sought to explain the print away, other than to say he did not put it there and that he did not kill these people.

In her closing address, Isobel Kennedy, prosecuting, said the fingerprint provided “very, very compelling” evidence of Mr Andruska’s guilt. The print had been confirmed independently and it matched his little finger.

The evidence of experts was consistent, constant and overwhelming, she told the jury.

“If you are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt, you are entitled to draw the inference that the accused was present at the time of the murders and that he murdered these two individuals,” she said.

Ms Kennedy also said a pink top worn by the little girl had DNA which matched that of Mr Andruska.

She also said footmarks in blood in the house matched Memphis 1 footwear worn by the accused on Saturday June 15, 2013, the day the murders are believed to have been committed.

Ms Kennedy said that, at 4.28pm that day, Mr Andruska phoned a friend saying he needed another pair of shoes, which the friend gave to him.

Subsequent searches inside and outside Mr Andruska’s house failed to find the old footwear, which he said he binned because it was torn.

She suggested it was an “enormous coincidence” that he looked for a pair of shoes in the immediate aftermath of the killings.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy has begun his charge to the jury of seven women and five men and has told them they must take the view favourable to the defence in weighing up pieces of doubtful evidence.

He has also outlined how cases could be based on circumstantial evidence.

He continues his charge today.


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