Man on trial accused of murdering 20-year-old with baseball bat

Zoltan Almasi pleads not guilty to murder but guilty to Joseph Dunne’s manslaughter in 2014

The jury was told there have already been two trials in the case. Photograph: Dave Meehan

The jury was told there have already been two trials in the case. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

A murder accused, who killed a 20-year-old man with a baseball bat, can be presumed to have intended to kill or seriously injure him, the State will argue before a jury.

The 49-year-old man went on trial at the Central Criminal Court on Wednesday, charged with murdering Joseph Dunne in Co Kildare seven years ago.

Serbian-born Zoltan Almasi of Harbour View, Naas, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to Mr Dunne’s manslaughter at Harbour View on May 16th 2014.

The jury was told there had already been two trials in the case.

Caroline Biggs SC opened his third trial for a jury of seven men and four women on Wednesday afternoon.

She said the deceased was living in Athy with his parents and older brothers at the time, and was attending Fás. On the evening he died, he had met a number of friends in Naas.

They were on their way to get a bus at about 10.30pm when Mr Dunne had a brief altercation with a different man. It was after this altercation that he passed Mr Almasi’s Mercedes van parked outside his home. Mr Dunne hit the van as he passed by.

“Mr Almasi came out of his house, armed himself with a baseball bat and gave chase,” said Ms Biggs, explaining that he soon caught up with Mr Dunne.

“It’s the prosecution case that he hit him on the head with the baseball bat, whereby Mr Dunne fell to the ground and died,” she said.

Postmortem

Counsel said the postmortem examination found a comminuted, depressed fracture of his skull.

“Comminuted means shattered, and depressed means that the bone had been driven into the brain,” she explained.

“The crux of the prosecution case is that, in taking the baseball bat to his head and hitting him in that way, he can be presumed to have intended those consequences of death or, at the very least, serious harm, and is therefore guilty of murder,” she said.

She explained that one of the essential elements of murder was a presumption to have intended the natural and probable consequences of one’s act.

Barra McGrory QC, defending, made a number of admissions on behalf of his client. These included accepting that he’d caused Mr Dunne’s death.

The trial continues on Thursday before Mr Justice Michael White and is expected to last four weeks.