Murder accused ‘out for revenge’
BRAZILIAN MAN IS ON TRIAL FOR THE MURDER OF CLONROCHE MAN JASON (JAY) BANVILLE AND ASSAULT OF TAGHMON MAN CONOR HOGAN
A Brazilian man was out for revenge when he stabbed another man to death after being assaulted in the early hours of the morning, a prosecution barrister told a murder trial jury last Tuesday.
Juraci Da Silva (36), with an address at Park Lane in Waterford pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of 28-year-old James Banville at New Street in Waterford on October 8, 2016. His plea was not accepted by the State and he is on trial at the Central Criminal Court.
He also pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to Taghmon man Conor Hogan and he pleaded not guilty to a third count of producing a knife. All charges relate to the same location and date.
Opening the trial, John O’Kelly SC for the prosecution told the jury they would see CCTV footage showing that Mr Banville and Mr Hogan twice assaulted the accused over a 20 minute period but then left him and walked away. After a little hesitation, he said, Mr Da Silva followed the two men, produced a long knife and inflicted the fatal injury on Mr Banville. He said Mr Hogan was also injured but recovered fully.
Counsel said it was about 2.55 a.m. when the first assault on the accused happened. The city centre was busy. The pubs and nightclubs had closed and people were wandering around, getting food or heading home. Bar workers, having finished their shifts, were on the street.
Mr Da Silva first met the deceased and Conor Hogan on John’s Lane, where he talked to them before they assaulted him. Mr Da Silva then went to his nearby home and changed his clothes, reemerging after a short time wearing a red jacket. Less than 20 minutes after the first assault Mr Da Silva is seen on CCTV talking to two women when Mr Hogan and Mr Banville walked by, saw Mr Da Silva, and assaulted him again.
Mr O’Kelly said these assaults do not reflect ‘any credit’ on Mr Hogan or Mr Banville, but they then left the area and walked to an adjoining street.
Mr Da Silva ran after them, produced a knife, and the third and fatal confrontation took place at New Street at about 3.15 a.m.
Mr O’Kelly said that if a person is assaulted they are entitled to defend themselves but not to seek revenge.
‘That is what happened here,’ he said, adding that in a civilised society victims of assault go to the gardai.
Counsel said the jury might feel anger or even outrage over the first two assaults but that hurt feelings cannot justify such a ‘terrible revenge’.
He added: ‘When he followed them in to New Street and produced a knife that wasn’t self defence, they weren’t attacking him. They had gone away in to the next street so anything he did at that stage could never amount to self defence.’
Mr O’Kelly further explained to the jury that for an unlawful death to be murder, the accused person must have intended to kill or cause serious injury. He added that the only possible intent when a person stabs someone in the chest is at least to cause ‘very serious injury’.
At the beginning of the trial Colman Cody SC for the defence told the jury that it is accepted that Mr Da Silva inflicted the wound that led to the death of Mr Banville and that he used the knife found near the scene.
The jury saw CCTV footage of the movements of the three men in the build up to the fatal knife attack. DAY TWO
An alleged victim of an assault in which his friend died described the lead-up to the fatal stabbing.
Conor Hogan from Taghmon told prosecution counsel John O’Kelly SC that he was out with his friend James Banville celebrating his first week in a new job on October 8, 2016. He described how they drank in a few pubs and twice assaulted Brazilian national Juraci Da Silva on the streets of Waterford City before Mr Da Silva ran after them and stabbed them, leaving Mr Hogan needing stitches and Mr Banville dead from his injuries.
Taking the stand Mr Hogan said he met James Banville at about 5 p.m. in Wexford, went to a friend’s house nearby and then drove to Waterford City, arriving at about 10 p.m. They went to some pubs in the city centre, including Sinnott’s and Mason’s. Later on he said he met Mr Da Silva in an alleyway identified in court as Cross Lane.
The witness told counsel: ‘He wouldn’t go away. He kept on coming over and we told him to go away and he wouldn’t so we hit him. Me and J (Mr Banville) hit him.’
Mr Hogan said he and Mr Banville then went to a pub but he couldn’t remember if they were able to get in. They then decided to return to the car, which was parked on Newgate Street to the north of the city centre. On their way they met Mr Da Silva again at the steps of the Park Lane Apartments where Mr Hogan said he assaulted Mr Da Silva again. Mr Banville and Mr Hogan then walked on towards the car but as they walked along New Street he heard the accused ‘shouting and screaming’ and running towards them.
He said: ‘He ran at me and stabbed me and then he ran at J and he stabbed J.’
At first he didn’t realise that Mr Da Silva had a knife but then Mr Banville collapsed.
Mr Hogan required about ten stitches.
The jury also saw CCTV footage showing the movements of Mr Banville and Mr Hogan and the accused man on the night. Detective Sergeant Michael Cawley told defence counsel Cephas Power BL that the two assaults on Mr Da Silva were caught on CCTV but the fatal incident took place in an area not covered by cameras. DAY THREE
The alleged victim of an assault in which his best friend was stabbed to death has denied racially abusing the Brazilian accused, who is now on trial for murder.
Conor Hogan admitted twice assaulting Juraci Da Silva before the Brazilian allegedly stabbed him and his friend James Banville, but denied a third assault and said he couldn’t remember telling Mr Da Silva to ‘go back to your own country’.
During cross examination last Thursday defence counsel Colman Cody SC said a number of people witnessed the first assault on Mr Da Silva in an alleyway in Waterford City centre, known locally as Cross Lanes. He said one of those witnesses would say that they heard Mr Banville or Mr Hogan say: ‘We are done with you now, go back to your own country.’ Another witness would say that he heard someone say: ‘What do you think you are doing here. This is our country.’
Mr Hogan said he could not recall saying anything like that and told Mr Cody that the reason he and Mr Banville assaulted the accused was because he ‘got in our faces’ and wouldn’t go away when told. He said the colour of his skin didn’t matter.
Mr Cody asked: ‘Is it possible you said those kind of things to Mr Da Silva?’ and the witness replied: ‘no’.
Mr Cody then asked if he would deny it if someone accused him of racially abusing Mr Da Silva.
The witness replied: ‘I don’t know. I would deny it.’
During the first assault, which happened at about 2.55am, he accepted that Mr Banville punched the accused while Mr Hogan accepted that he kneed the accused once in the head and punched him.
Describing events before the assaults, Mr Hogan said he travelled to Waterford that evening in Mr Banville’s car. Mr Hogan had been drinking for most of the day and had a gram of cocaine, which he shared with Mr Banville when they arrived in the city. He accepted that they could be seen on CCTV snorting cocaine at Cross Lanes in the moments before they assaulted Mr Da Silva the first time.
Mr Hogan accepted that he then assaulted Mr Da Silva a second time when, as he and Mr Banville walked towards their car, they spotted the Brazilian talking to two girls outside an apartment block on John’s Street.
The two men then walked on up towards New Street where the witness said Mr Da Silva came running towards them ‘shouting like a crazy man’ and stabbed him and his friend.
Mr Cody put it to Mr Hogan that another witness will say that Mr Hogan and Mr Banville ran aggressively towards the accused and threw punches at him moments before the stabbing. Mr Hogan said this was not true.
The trial continues before Justice Michael White and jury of six men and six women. DAY FOUR
Conor Hogan denied that he and the deceased started the trouble that led to a fatal knife attack on a city street.
Mr Hogan told defence counsel Colman Cody SC that the accused man, a Brazilian meat factory worker named Juraci Da Silva, ‘started it’ when he approached them in an alleyway and wouldn’t go away.
He also said he couldn’t remember racially abusing the Brazilian or calling him a ‘pervert’ and a ‘paedophile’.
On the second day of cross examination, Mr Cody put it to the witness that he and Mr Banville provoked his client by racially abusing him, calling him a pervert and a paedophile and by attacking him.
He replied: ‘I didn’t provoke anyone. I assaulted him.’ He also said he does not remember saying anything to Mr Da Silva, who he accused of ‘getting in our faces’ when he came over to him and Mr Banville as they were minding their own business.
The court has previously heard that Mr Banville and Mr Hogan twice assaulted the accused man in the early hours of the morning. The first time was in an alleyway where Mr Banville and Mr Hogan were taking cocaine when the accused man approached them and started talking to them.
Mr Hogan said that they told him to go away but he didn’t, so they hit him.
Under cross examination he said that was what started the trouble. Less than 20 minutes later Mr Hogan and Mr Banville met the accused again at the nearby Park Lane Apartments.
Mr Hogan agreed with Mr Cody that the accused had his back turned to them and was not threatening them in any way when they walked over and struck him a number of times. Minutes after that assault came tehe final and fatal confrontation.
Mr Cody said other witnesses will say that Mr Banville and Mr Hogan called the Brazilian a pervert and a paedophile while they hit him. Mr Hogan said he could not remember saying that or anything else.
When counsel asked the witness why he had not told gardai the truth about those first two assaults in three statements made in October 2016 he said he was ‘mixed up’ and wasn’t himself. ‘My friend got killed,’ he added.
Mr Cody put it to him that the reason he didn’t tell gardai was because he didn’t want people to think that he and Mr Banville had ‘started this’.
He replied: ‘He came up to us. We didn’t go up to him.’
The witness also agreed that he had previous convictions at Wexford District Court including for a section 3 assault in which Mr Hogan and three other males assaulted a man by punching him in the face in April 2015. He also has a conviction for burglary, section 3 misuse of drugs and public disorder.
Ellen Ward also gave evidence on Friday, saying that she witnessed the first assault on Mr Juraci at Crosslanes. She said that Mr Juraci seemed to be minding his own business when one of the men punched him ‘for no reason’ and the other struck him in the head with his knee. One of her friends told them: ‘That’s f ***ing wrong. Leave him alone.’
After that, she said Mr Juraci ran up the hill while the other two stayed around for a while. She told them they should go because the guards would be along and they headed off, only to come back some time later. She did not see the second attack on Mr Juraci. DAY FIVE
Melanie Byrne yesterday told prosecuting counsel John O’Kelly SC that she saw a foreign-looking man, who was ‘minding his own business’, being racially abused. ‘I was kind of shocked,’ she said. She then saw the men punch the accused ‘for no reason’. She did not see the foreign man hit back. ‘He was just trying to get away,’ she said.
Under cross examination she told defence counsel Colman Cody SC that she had seen the same two men earlier that night in Sinnott’s nightclub. She said they were ‘aggressive’ and she could tell they were ‘on something’ and were looking for trouble. After leaving the club she saw the two men again in the alleyway where they were taking drugs just moments before assaulting Mr Juraci. ‘I never saw someone so openly taking drugs,’ the witness said.
When the foreign looking man appeared they started shouting racial comments. She added: ‘It was like they were feeding off each other. Making each other more and more angry.’ She saw both of them punch the man. Afterwards she heard one of them say: ‘We are done with you now. Go back to your own country.’ When she confronted the two men one of them said to her: ‘We’re Irish, you’re Irish. You should understand.’
It is the prosecution’s case that the two Irish men were Conor Hogan and James Banville while the foreign man was the accused, who later stabbed Mr Banville to death.
Emily Keogh then gave evidence relating to a second assault on Mr Juraci by Mr Hogan and the deceased. She said Mr Juraci approached her and her friend at the steps of the Park Lane apartments on John’s Lane. He wasn’t being abusive or threatening but she told him to go away about three or four times. Then two Irish lads came along and overheard what was happening. They said to the man: ‘Fuck off you pervert. Leave the girls alone.’ The two men then pulled the foreign man away and she said she heard what sounded like thumps and a man ‘wincing in pain’. Susan Foley was also there and remembered that she was not ‘overly bothered’ by the foreign man but she did ask him to go away. Then she saw two Irish lads come along roaring at the foreign man, calling him a pervert and throwing punches and kicks.
Emma Balfe recalled seeing the third ‘scuffle’ at the scene where Mr Banville suffered the fatal knife wound. She said she saw a foreign looking man shouting on the street.
At first she thought he was shouting at her so she shouted back, but then he passed her by. When she looked up towards New Street she could see that he was fighting with two lads, one of whom fell to the ground. When she went over she saw the man’s injury and a lot of blood. She attempted to do CPR until the gardai arrived.
Evan Russell said he was in his car driving home after working at a nearby bar when he saw the two Irish lads at New Street, running towards the foreign-looking man in an aggressive manner and throwing punches at him.
He said he could see that one of the men had suffered a serious injury and so he followed Mr Juraci and called gardai, leading them to the accused man.
The trial continues today in front of Justice Michael White and a jury of six men and six women.
The late Jason (Jay) Banville.