Dublin man acquitted of manslaughter of taxi driver

Witness said a backseat passenger got out of the taxi and the driver followed him

 William Keegan (27)  was found not guilty of the manslaughter of Moses Ayanwole (41) on Pearse Street, Dublin in 2011.  Photograph:  Collins Courts.

William Keegan (27) was found not guilty of the manslaughter of Moses Ayanwole (41) on Pearse Street, Dublin in 2011. Photograph: Collins Courts.

 

A Dublin man has been acquitted of a taxi driver’s manslaughter in the city in an apparent row over a fare.

William Keegan (27), of Pearse House, Pearse Street, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the unlawful killing of Moses Ayanwole (41) on Pearse Street on November 23th, 2011.

The jury spent four hours deliberating over two days before returning the unanimous not guilty verdict.

Judge Desmond Hogan thanked the jury for its care and attention, noting that the case had been “very emotional”. He commended them for dealing with the trial within the legal principles he had outlined.

Judge Hogan told Mr Keegan, who was in tears, that he was free to go.

The trial had heard prosecution evidence that Mr Keegan said in interview that he and four others had decided to get a cab from a Pearse Street pub into the city centre, but taxi driver, Mr Ayanwole, would not take five passengers.

Mr Keegan said he was left behind in the car as the others in his group jumped out and immediately got a different cab.

Pursuing him
He said he thought Mr Ayanwole was pursuing him across the road after he got out of the car because he wanted money for a fare even though the vehicle had not moved.

“If I didn’t hit him, he would have hit me. He was not getting out of the taxi for nothing,” Mr Keegan told gardaí.

Det Garda Mark Looby told Maurice Coffey, prosecuting, that Mr Keegan asked about Mr Ayanwole’s age and family during interview. Det Garda Looby explained that Mr Ayanwole had still been alive when the accused was questioned. He said Mr Keegan told him: “I’ll say a prayer. I hope he pulls through.”

A witness, student Fionn Cooper, told Mr Coffey that he and a friend had been walking along Pearse Street after a night out when he saw a taxi stopped outside a pub. He said a backseat passenger got out of the vehicle and the driver followed.

Mr Cooper said he thought the driver tipped the passenger on the shoulder before the passenger immediately turned around and struck the driver, who fell back and hit his head off the ground.

Cause of death
Former deputy state pathologist Dr Khalid Jaber told Mr Coffey that the cause of death was serious, significant brain damage.

He said this was from a blunt force trauma to the head, which caused Mr Ayanwole to fall backwards from a standing position.