Jury begins deliberations in trial of man accused of murdering flatmate at Limerick home

Natasha Reid

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Natasha Reid

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Jury begins deliberations in trial of man accused of murdering flatmate at Limerick home

Arnis Labunskis denies murdering 39-year-old Dainius Burba in April 2015

The jury has begun deliberating in the trial of a man who is accused of murdering his flatmate at their home in Limerick.

The father of two claims he acted in self defence when he struck him over the head with the leg of a coffee table.

Addressing the jurors this Thursday, Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy said they could reach three possible verdicts: guilty; acquittal; or not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter.

Arnis Labunskis, aged 56, with an address at Wolfe Tone Street denies murdering 39-year-old Dainius Burba on April 21 or April 22, 2015.

The Latvian national had originally told gardaí that he had come home to find his flatmate with serious injuries, but in his evidence at the Central Criminal Court he said he had inflicted the injuries.

He testified that Mr Burba called him into his darkened bedroom in the middle of the night and began swinging a wooden table leg at him. He said he managed to disarm him, but that Mr Burba continued to come at him with his fists.

He said he then swung the table leg at him until the deceased shouted stop.

Ms Justice Murphy spent much of this Thursday charging the jury, and explained the law of self defence and the three possible verdicts.

“If you are to hold that the accused, in beating the deceased with a coffee table leg in or about the head, was in objective terms using reasonable and necessary force, that’s a complete defence, which would entitle him to an acquittal,” she said.

“If you come to the conclusion that Mr Labunskis was honestly acting in self defence, but used grossly excessive force in doing so, that would reduce murder to manslaughter,” she said.

She explained that, for this verdict, the accused must have believed that he was using reasonable and necessary force.

She said that if he had used unreasonable and unnecessary force, and if he knew he was using such force, then he would be guilty of murder.

The jury then began considering its verdict and will resume its deliberations this (Friday) morning.