The jury in an attempted murder trial has been told that the accused had a strong motive to want the injured man out of the way.
Patrick Gageby SC was giving his closing speech for the State in the trial of a Louth man, charged with attempting to murder a fellow Louth man twice in the one day, firstly by stabbing him 28 times and then by locking him into the boot of a car that was pushed into a canal.
Paul Crosby of Rathmullen Park in Drogheda is before the Central Criminal Court, charged with attempting to murder, falsely imprisoning and causing serious harm to Gerard Boyle (22) on 10th November, 2016 at Knockcommon, Beauparc, Slane in Co Meath. He is also accused of the attempted murder of Mr Boyle later on the same date at Boyne Canal, Drogheda.
The 22-year-old has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Mr Gageby reminded the jury of the known timeframe of events.
A bloody steak knife and what transpired to be Mr Boyle’s blood was found on the road in Knockcommon around 10.20 that night. Mr Boyle was found with 28 stab wounds and a punctured lung near Drogheda around 10.30pm, having escaped from the car and the Boyne Canal.
“Immersing a car in water might be two birds with one stone: cause the death and also have some effect on the forensics,” said Mr Gageby.
He added that, within hours of being hospitalised, Mr Boyle had named Paul Crosby as the assailant.
He noted that, at 9.56pm, unaware of anything having happened, a garda had gone to the home of Mr Crosby, who was subject to a curfew.
“He’s not there,” he said. “It is an unpleasant coincidence from the accused’s point of view that, at the time when Mr Boyle was being knifed in Knockcommon and driven in a boot, Mr Crosby was not at his home.”
He reminded the jury that Mr Boyle had said the accused had called to his house that night and told him they were going for a chat about an incident that had happened in March.
“He was told to leave his phone behind, which he did,” he said. “There’s a sinister aspect as to why a person should not bring a phone with them. It’s common knowledge phones can be tracked.”
He said that it all went back to that incident in March, when Mr Boyle said that the accused and another man had come to his home in the middle of the night, smashing a window and demanding entry.
Mr Crosby was arrested, charged and sent forward to the Circuit Court that September, about six weeks before the stabbing. One of the charges against the accused alleged the possession of a shotgun at the Boyle home.
“Didn’t Mr Crosby have every reason to want Mr Boyle out of the way?” he asked. “There is a strong motive for Mr Crosby to want Mr Boyle out of the way.”
He said that the accused also had the opportunity, in that he wasn’t at home that night.
“You can safely and comfortably convict in this case,” he concluded.
However, Mr Bowman SC, defending, said that such a motivation was the reason Mr Boyle had named his client and not the real attackers, whom he feared.
He pointed to a number of differences between what Mr Boyle had told gardaí and what he had told the jury, on one occasion just hours later.
“That is the caliber of the individual we’re dealing with and why he must be dealt with cautiously in terms of the big lie he wants to tell,” he said.
“He wasn’t at home. So what?” he asked, reminding the jury that he had told gardaí that he might have been at his aunt’s house that night.
He said that it was of concern that phone material, none of which implicated the accused, was in the possession of the prosecution since November 2016, but had come to the defence only at the trial stage.
He said that Mr Boyle had lied every time he was asked a question about his phone, its contents and who was communicating with him around the time.
“He said nobody was threatening him. That is demonstrably not true,” said Mr Bowman, referring to a threatening text sent to his phone by an unsaved number on the day of the stabbing.
He also noted that Mr Boyle had denied leaving his house that night, apart from with the accused. However, his phone had used a mast over 5km away three times that evening.
A garda had also observed him outside that day. When Mr Bowman had put this to Mr Boyle, he had said the garda was lying, he said.
He also said that it was a lie that he had named a teenaged boy as being one of his assailants.
“You're being asked to take a leap of faith in a guy, who is untruthful,” said Mr Bowman.
He noted that, as with his client, this teenager had been arrested exclusively on Mr Boyle’s word. There were no forensics against him.
“Why would he name Paul Crosby?” he asked. “Simple. It’s a suspect that the authorities like, because he answers what they believe to be the obvious question - motive… The motivation is why Mr Crosby has been named and not the people Gerard Boyle is really afraid of.”
He said that it was of real concern that there was no evidence to corroborate his word. He said that house to house enquiries had not even been done to see if the accused had called to his home that night.
“You find yourselves in a very dangerous position,” he said.
He again raised the example of the teenaged boy, whom Mr Boyle had subsequently removed as a suspect. Had he not’ and if this person now sat beside Mr Crosby, ‘they wouldn’t be able to demonstrate the fact that he named a man who didn’t do it’.
“Gerard Boyle undoubtedly suffered a terrible ordeal. He undoubtedly knows who did it to him. He is not willing to tell you the truth,” said Mr Bowman. “Are you seriously going to convict Paul Crosby on his word alone?”
He asked the jury to acquit his client on all counts.
“The evidence is flawed, the investigation deficient, and a man has missed by a whisker sitting beside Paul Crosby because Gerard Boyle has changed his mind.”
Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy will tomorrow charge the five women and six men of the jury, who will then commence deliberations.