Murder accused’s situation likened to that of Michael Corleone in Godfather III

Rihards Lavickis admits stabbing Akadiusz Czajkowski in Longford but denies it was murder

Rihards Lavickis admits stabbing Akadiusz ‘Arik’ Czajkowski  outside Longford Shopping Centre but  has pleaded not guilty to murdering him.

Rihards Lavickis admits stabbing Akadiusz ‘Arik’ Czajkowski outside Longford Shopping Centre but has pleaded not guilty to murdering him.

 

A barrister representing a man accused of murder has likened his client’s situation at the time of the killing to that of Michael Corleone in the Godfather III - a person who was trying to get out of crime but kept being pulled back in.

John Shortt SC was giving his closing speech in the trial of drug dealer Rihards Lavickis who fatally stabbed another drug dealer Akadiusz ‘Arik’ Czajkowski in in broad daylight outside Longford Shopping Centre.

Mr Lavickis (26), originally from Latvia but with an address at Annaly Court in Longford, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of the Polish father-of-two on November 1st, 2016 at Rue Noyal Chatillon, Townspark.

Mr Shortt reminded the Central Criminal Court jury of evidence that the accused owed the deceased money for drugs and that Mr Czajkowski had attacked his client with a knuckle duster months before the killing.

He recalled that the accused’s family’s window had been broken about five times during that time including in the early hours of that morning.

Mr Lavickis had called gardaí and nominated the deceased as a suspect. He told officers that he would ‘get him’ but was told they would deal with the issue.

Chased

However, the accused went out with a knife looking for the deceased. When he later saw him, he chased him and stabbed him three times. Mr Shortt argued that his client lacked the necessary intent to kill or cause serious injury at the time.

“If you were going to murder someone, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to set up the killing in broad daylight on a main thoroughfare,” he said. “Yes he ran at him with the knife. That does not either suggest that he intended to kill him or cause serious harm.”

Mr Shortt said that if the jury believed his client did have the necessary intention for murder, the members could then look at the issue of provocation, which could reduce murder to manslaughter if the accused completely lacked self control due to being provoked by the deceased.

He said that the drug debt had been reduced to a lesser sum on the basis that his client would not make a formal garda complaint about the knuckle duster incident. However, the deceased was not inclined to let go of this issue, he said.

“It’s almost like the scene in the Godfather III, where Michael Corleone is sitting there. He’s trying to get out of crime but something’s happened and he says: ‘Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in’.”

He asked the jury to reach a verdict of not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

‘Consequences’

Patrick McGrath SC, prosecuting, said that “if a person sticks a knife into the chest of another, then the natural and probable consequences are death or serious injury”.

“The presumption arises that the accused intended to cause death or serious injury,” he said, explaining that the intention to cause either of these was enough for murder.

“He went out with a knife, to take revenge on him for what he perceived he’d done to himself and his family,” he said of the accused.

“He ran across the road with the knife raised in an aggressive manner,” he continued, reminding the jury of the CCTV footage, which showed the chase but not the stabbing.

“He’s chasing after him to kill or cause serious injury.”

Mr McGrath said that taking the law into one’s hands, brooding over perceived wrongs and deciding to put an end to troubles was not provocation.

“He tells the gardaí that when the first two stab wounds didn’t seem to be working, he pushed it further in the next time, clear evidence of intention and preplanning, being in control of what he was doing and not being out of self control,” he said.

“When he pushes it in further. It’s planned and calculated. Because it is, whatever the background, it’s not provocation.”

He said that having a bad history with someone was not enough for provocation.

Mr Justice Michael White sent the jury out to consider its verdict on Wednesday afternoon and they will resume deliberations on Thursday.