Dublin, Ireland - A man accused of murdering a Nigerian teenager on Good Friday two years ago has been acquitted of the charge after the trial judge directed the jury to find him not guilty. Mr Justice Barry White also directed the jury to find the 26-year-old man not guilty of producing a baseball bat.
Michael Barry (26), a resident of Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Nigerian teenager Toyosi Shittabey (15) on April 2nd, 2010. Mr Barry had also pleaded not guilty of producing a baseball bat in the course of a dispute.
It was the prosecution’s case that Michael’s brother Paul, now deceased, inflicted the stab wound on Toyosi but that Michael was an accessory to the murder, following what had been described as a row with racial undertones.
On day seven of the trial, Mr Justice White said that there was no evidence to suggest Mr Barry knew his brother Paul was carrying a knife when he drove him to where the teenager was stabbed.
He told the jury defence counsel Patrick Gageby, SC, argued that both counts should be withdrawn.
He also said one witness, Glen Lupepe (18) was not prepared to travel back from the UK to give evidence and that arrangements were made for him to give video evidence but that he had refused to co-operate. “I don’t know what his evidence was to be but prosecution advised he was an important witness,” said Mr Justice White.
The judge directed a verdict of not guilty be issued against Mr Barry, saying “the interest of justice may not be well served in this case,” and discharged the jury exempting them from jury duty for ten years.
The six-day trial had heard evidence that a row broke out outside Paul Barry’s house between Paul, Michael and five black males and five white females after one of the females asked Paul for a cigarette lighter and he had refused.
A fight broke out resulting in Michael and Paul being kicked and punched and Michael believing one of the youths had taken his mobile phone. Witnesses gave evidence that a baseball bat was produced during the altercation but was not used on anyone.
The trial also heard evidence that after the youths fled the scene at around 8pm, Michael drove Paul in his jeep in order to retrieve his mobile phone from the youths. Paul had gotten out of the jeep and approached one of the black youths. Toyosi then ran towards Paul, who had a knife, and was stabbed in the heart.
Witnesses said Toyosi ran and shouted “He stabbed me, he stabbed me” before collapsing on the roadway. Despite efforts by emergency services to resuscitate him at the scene, he was pronounced dead at 9.05pm at James Connolly Memorial Hospital.
Toyosi’s parents were not in court when the judge gave the jury his direction and Toyosi’s friends Bobby Kuti (18) and Gracia Lulendo (18) declined to comment as they were too upset.