Josh Dunne murder trial witness denies carrying out ‘vicious attack’

Man (29) disagrees with assessment he ‘upped the ante’ on night of attack

A murder trial witness with several previous criminal convictions has denied he carried out a "vicious attack" on a food-delivery cyclist on the night schoolboy Josh Dunne was killed.

The 29-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also denied he told gardaí “an absolute lie” when he said he wanted to calm the situation and break the fight up but had “ended up getting stabbed in the back for my troubles”.

The jury was told on Thursday by defence counsel that the witness had been arrested on multiple occasions before, that he had previous convictions including for possession of drugs and criminal damage and that his first recorded bike theft was ten years ago.

George Gonzaga Bento (36), a Brazilian national with an address in East Wall in Dublin 3, is charged with murdering 16-year-old Josh Dunne at East Wall Road, East Wall on January 26th, 2021.

Mr Bento is also accused of producing a utility knife in a manner likely to intimidate another in the course of a dispute or fight. The defendant is further accused of assault causing harm to two other young men on the same occasion. The delivery cyclist has pleaded not guilty to each of the four counts.

The prosecution alleges Mr Bento produced a knife during a “stand-off or confrontation” with a man on a moped who had stolen another delivery cyclist’s bike. Josh Dunne and other youths arrived at the scene and got involved in the confrontation.

A pathologist has given evidence that Mr Dunne sustained two stab wounds to the chest including one that penetrated the main artery in the body.

Giving evidence on Thursday, the man told Sean Guerin SC, prosecuting, that he saw a “commotion” among “about ten people” at the corner of The Seabank House when he was on East Road on January 26th. “It looked like they were fighting,” he said.

“I went over to try and calm it down, to try to stop it,” he said.

Under cross-examination, the witness disagreed with Padraig Dwyer SC, defending, that “virtually everything” he had said in his statement to gardaí about that night was a lie.

The witness denied it was untrue when he told gardaí in his statement that a food-delivery cyclist was on top of “another fella” on the ground that night. He later agreed that he was wrong about this.

Mr Dwyer put it to the witness that the reason he told this lie was "to deflect attention" from the "true situation", which was that he had "launched an attack" on one of the delivery cyclists, Mr Guilherme Quieroz. The man disagreed and said he was not aware of Mr Quieroz's injuries from the night.

Mr Quieroz has testified that he suffered broken teeth, a broken nose, cuts and bruising on his face and damage to his right knee that night. He also told the jury that Mr Bento saved him from more serious injuries or death when he used a knife to defend him from the gang of youths.

The witness also denied that he and two other men had carried out a “very ferocious” attack on Mr Quieroz, who Mr Dwyer said had also been attacked earlier by another group of people.

The man said that Mr Quieroz had run at him and disagreed that he and his friend had assaulted Mr Quieroz as soon as they came into contact with him.

He denied that he and his “friends” had “brought Mr Quieroz to the ground” and said that the two of them had fallen on the ground.

The witness disagreed that he received the knife wound when he and another man were beating Mr Quieroz on the ground.

“Your vicious attack only stopped after you received a knife wound to the lower back?” asked Mr Dwyer. “I disagree with that,” he replied.

Mr Dwyer suggested to the witness that “far from separating the people from fighting” he had instead “upped the ante considerably” by launching an attack on Mr Quieroz, who was a “total stranger” to him. “I disagree,” he replied.

The trial continues tomorrow in front of Mr Justice Paul Burns and a jury of five men and seven women.