LAWYERS for the two truck drivers accused of murder at the Amber filling station in Fermoy told the jury the two men should be found not guilty and argued that a key witness was “an unreconstructed liar”.
Tomasz Wasowicz, aged 45, and Marcin Skrzypezyk, aged 31, are on trial charged with the murder of Ludovit Pasztor, aged 40, on February 21, 2017, at the Amber filling station at Carrrignagroghera, Fermoy.
Wasowicz also faces the additional charge of being in possession of a weapon, namely a stun-gun at the same date and place.
Prosecution senior counsel, Siobhán Lankford, said in her closing speech the heart of the case was what happened after the two defendants got out of the truck when the deceased and his friend, Mariusz Osail, arrived at the scene carrying iron poles.
Ms Lankford said the State relied heavily on the evidence of Liam Byrnes, a truck driver from Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, who was on a rest break at the filling station that night.
“It was dark but he was able to see two men with bars in their hands hitting two other men who were on the ground. One had shorts on. After seeing that, those two men got into Macroom Haulage trucks.
“You may hear (from the defence speeches) that the other pole was not produced to Dr Bolster (pathologist) but you have to approach it in a common sense manner. A pole was lying beside the deceased.
“In a murder case often there is no murder weapon (produced in evidence).
“Mr Pasztor (the deceased) and Mr Osail (his friend), with the level of alcohol consumed were they capable of doing any damage to anyone?
“Certainly they had bars but their level of inebriation must have been quite significant. They had at least 24 cans of beer consumed — 24 plus something else when they came back the second time. You have to take a view of that. Was it reasonable or necessary to defend himself?”
Tim O’Leary, senior counsel for Wasowicz, opened his speech to the jury by referring to the prosecution case and commenting: “What a load of rubbish you are being asked to eat. They built this case on the basis that this is the weapon and now we realise, jaypurs, we never told the pathologist about the second pole.
“Dr Bolser (pathologist) was shocked. She did not know about the second bar.
“My client said, ‘check the bars, my fingerprints would be on them’. He could not have known there would have been no evidence of fingerprints or DNA.”
Mr O’Leary said the prosecution sleepwalked into the case. He said they opened the case with emphasis on evidence to come from the deceased’s friend, Mariusz Osail, but that by their closing speech they had jettisoned him.
“He was jettisoned in the closing speech because he is an obvious liar… They backed the wrong horse, didn’t they.”
Acknowledging the presence of the deceased man’s widow in court every day of the two weeks of the trial, Mr O’Leary said he still had to say that the deceased and Mr Osail were “idiots” to have gone down to the filling station that night with iron bars.
Mr O’Leary added: “It is just as likely that Mr Osail struck his friend.”
Tom Creed, SC for Marcin Skrzypezyk, said to the jury: “If you think that Mr Skrzypezyk probably killed Mr Pasztor you must find him not guilty because the civil standard of proof has no place in this court. You have to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt… You have to be as sure as you ever were of anything.
“Two people come to two others sitting in their truck minding their own business having a chat almost like they were sitting at home having a chat. People come banging on the door with iron bars and call them out. An attack happened and in the ensuing melee one of the assailants got struck and died.
“You are entitled to protect yourself and you are entitled to protect someone else. In here we call it self-defence. They (two men armed with iron bars) tore into Tomasz like animals. He (Skrzypezyk) picked up a bar from one attacker or on the ground and struck a couple of blows, he thought, on the shoulder.
“That leaves open the possibility that he was using reasonable force to protect his friend. The prosecution have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he was not using reasonable force — if you are not so satisfied you must acquit.”
Mr Creed said the evidence of Mr Osail arriving with the deceased carrying iron bars begged the question why the Director of Public Prosecutions had not brought a case against Mr Osail whom he called “an unreconstructed liar.”
Ms Justice Carmel Stewart will give her closing address to the jury of eight men and four women on Monday.