Robbie Walsh is on trial at the Central Criminal Court
A JUDGE has told a jury to look at matters from the accused's point of view when reaching a verdict in the trial of a Clare man accused of murdering an acquaintance over a year ago.
Ms Justice Carmel Stewart said the jury could convict or acquit Robbie Walsh, 23, of Karl Haugh's murder, or return an alternative verdict of manslaughter.
She said it is the defence's case that Mr Walsh did not intend to cause serious harm and that he had been acting in self defence at the time.
She warned the jurors they must not approach deliberations with emotive or prejudicial feelings. She also advised them to look at the incident from Mr Walsh's point of view to see if he thought he had been under threat or attack and if he thought the force used had been justified.
Mr Walsh, 23, of Island View, Kilrush, County Clare, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering 25-year-old Karl “Gobbo” Haugh at Marian Estate, Kilkee, County Clare, in the early hours of August 6, 2017.
Ms Justice Stewart said that in assessing the amount of force used, the jury needs to bear in mind that a person under attack may react in the spur of the moment.
She said this person can't be expected to know know much force is needed to defend themselves, but that “over the top” force would not be reasonable.
Reading from legal guidelines on self defence, she told the jury that some allowance must be made for the state of excitement or fear of the person under attack.
During the trial, the jury viewed excerpts of the accused's garda interviews. During one excerpt, Mr Walsh admitted: “I killed a man. It’s not an easy thing to have on your shoulders. I only went out for a few cans and ended up killing someone.”
The jury also heard that Mr Walsh and his cousins, Mitchell and Clinton Walsh, had gone to the Marian Estate to smash up Mr Haugh's car in response to an earlier altercation that night.
This earlier altercation had involved Clinton Walsh and Mr Haugh. During interview, Robbie Walsh told gardaí he used a metal bar to smash windows of a car he and his cousins believed belonged to Mr Haugh.
He said his group were running away after this, when he saw “Karl and a right few” others with golf clubs and bars.
Mr Walsh said in interview that Mr Haugh dropped the knife he had been holding during the ensuing fight, which he (the accused) then picked up. He said he kept the knife as Mr Haugh grabbed him and started dragging him around “like a rag doll”.
Mr Walsh told gardaí that he then swung his right arm and stabbed Mr Haugh in the back. He said he saw Mr Haugh drop to his knees, but then get back up again.
The court heard Mr Haugh died of a single stab wound, which punctured his lung and led to massive bleeding.
The jury has begun deliberations.