The Court of Criminal Appeal today heard that the jury who convicted a Dublin man of the double murder of two Polish mechanics arrived at their verdict appropriately, having been given fair and balanced directions by the trial judge.
David Curran (aged 20) is in the second day of his appeal against his conviction for the murder of Pawel Kalite (aged 29) and Marius Szwajkos (aged 27) outside their home on Benbulben Road, Drimnagh on February 23, 2008.
He was jailed for life by Mr Justice Liam McKechnie in May last year after a Central Criminal Court jury found him guilty of murdering the men by stabbing them through the head with a screwdriver.
Curran, of Lissadel Green, Drimnagh, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to murdering the men but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of provocation.
His co-accused Sean Keogh (aged 22), of Vincent Street West, Inchicore was found not guilty of the double murder, having been charged with the crime on the grounds of joint enterprise.
He was jailed for four years however, after pleading guilty to assault causing harm to Pawel Kalite.
In the second day of submissions in front of the three-judge court, counsel for the State, Mr John O’Kelly SC, said that Mr Justice McKechnie had delivered a balanced and fair charge, which in its totality had given the jury a clear picture of the core principles of law involved and how to apply them.
Mr Giollaiosa O Lideadha SC, for the applicant, had argued that parts of the trial judge’s charge to the jury were “seriously defective” and that the judge failed to direct the jury adequately or consistently on the “ultimate issue” of provocation.
At the original trial, the defence contended that David Curran had stabbed the two men having “lost control” and succumbing to a “mad rage” when the two victims shouted at him and moved toward him from the door of their house.
Mr O’Kelly argued there was no diminution in the trial judge’s clear and repeated assertion that the onus fell on the prosecution to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt that Curran had been provoked and had succumbed to a sudden loss of control.
He said he jury arrived at their verdict appropriately and could not have been under any misconception to what Curran’s defence was.
Curran claimed he was out of his head on drink and drugs and lost control when he stabbed the two men, believing his father had been stabbed in an earlier row with Mr Kalite.
However, the State rejected this contention and argued that Curran had concocted the story about his father being stabbed.
The trial heard how Mr Kalite and Mr Szwajkos never regained consciousness and died in hospital within days of the brutal stabbing.
The State Pathologist, Professor Marie Cassidy, concluded that Mr Kalite sustained two stab wounds to his left temple, one which penetrated his skull and did irreparable damage to his brain. He also had broken teeth.
Dr Marie Cassidy said Mr Swajkos was stabbed through the left temple, skull and brain.
He also had a fracture to the right side of his skull, consistent with falling to the ground after being stabbed.
The appeal hearing continues in front of presiding judge Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell.