Josh Dunne murder trial: Teen admits altercation with delivery cyclists was not 'fair fight'

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Josh Dunne Murder Trial: Teen Admits Altercation With Delivery Cyclists Was Not 'Fair Fight' Josh Dunne Murder Trial: Teen Admits Altercation With Delivery Cyclists Was Not 'Fair Fight'
Josh Dunne (16) died following the altercation in East Wall, Dublin on January 26th, 2021. Photo: PA Images
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Alison O'Riordan

A 17-year-old murder trial witness has described the moment he realised a food-delivery cyclist had not punched him but had instead stabbed him three times.

The teenager told the Central Criminal Court: "I looked down and saw my jacket was ripped a few times and my grey t-shirt was now red and covered in blood".

However, under cross-examination, the boy, who cannot be named because he is under 18, agreed with Padraig Dwyer SC, for the accused, that the two Brazilian delivery riders were "outnumbered" on the night that Josh Dunne was killed and it was not "a fair fight".

George Gonzaga Bento (36), a Brazilian national, with an address in East Wall, Dublin 3 is charged with murdering 16-year-old Josh Dunne at East Wall Road, East Wall on January 26th, 2021.

Mr Bento is also accused of producing an article in a manner likely to intimidate another in the course of a dispute or fight, namely a utility knife.

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The defendant is further accused of assault causing harm to two other young men on the same occasion. The delivery cyclist has pleaded not guilty to each of the four counts.

The prosecution alleges that Mr Bento, a delivery cyclist, produced a knife during a "stand-off or confrontation" with a man on a moped who had stolen another delivery cyclist's bike. Mr Dunne and other youths arrived at the scene and got involved in the confrontation.

'Bit of conflict'

Giving evidence on Friday, the boy told Sean Guerin SC, for the prosecution, that he and a group of youths had stopped at a junction on East Wall Road when they saw a number of people across the road.

The witness said it looked like there was "a bit of conflict" between a man on a moped and two delivery drivers and a fight was about to start.

The boy told the jury it seemed like the man on the moped was "going to be in trouble" as it was "two on one".

The witness did not know any of the individuals and said one of the delivery men was dressed in "orange clothes" and the other in "dull clothes".

The boy said one of the other youths asked if they should help the man on the moped as it looked like he was "in bother". He added that one of the delivery cyclists hit the man on the moped, who then turned around and asked the youths for help.

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The boy said Mr Dunne and another boy ran across the road but said he was a bit hesitant to go over: "When the fight began, [the other boy] turned to me and shouted 'quick boys help'."

When the witness crossed the road, he said it was "two on two" between the Deliveroo drivers and Josh and the other youth.

The delivery driver in the dull clothes, he said, came towards the witness and they exchanged "digs", at which time Mr Dunne was "face to face" with the delivery cyclist in orange.

Stab wound

The boy said the delivery driver in the dull colours was bigger which "threw him off course" and had hit him in the head.

After this, the boy said he wanted to hit the Deliveroo cyclist back. "I didn't connect and hit him one more time," he added.

The witness said it felt like someone had hit him in the lower back, realising it was the delivery driver dressed in orange. "I thought he had hit me, but it was a stab wound. I thought I'd been punched, I didn't know a knife was involved at this point," he added.

The witness said he moved towards the delivery driver in orange, who was then fighting with Mr Dunne.

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"We exchanged a few times. I thought he was hitting me, but it turned out he was stabbing me again," he said.

The witness was also stabbed once in the chest and once in the abdomen.

The boy said he continued hitting the delivery driver in orange to the torso area and said they were "normal, straight punches".

At one stage, the boy looked down into the delivery driver's hand, spotting a "shiny looking object" and realised it was a knife. "As I saw it, I said 'boys, he has a blade' just in case," he continued.

The boy told Mr Guerin he had no idea a blade or weapon had been involved in the incident, adding he then stepped back and saw Dr Dunne stumbling.

"I looked down and saw my jacket was ripped a few times and my grey t-shirt was now red and covered in blood," he said, adding that this was when he realised he had been stabbed.

'Help'

The witness said he ran over to Mr Dunne who had fallen on his front but had to sit down on the ground himself. He tried to turn his friend over whilst keeping pressure on his own wound.

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The boy suffered three stab wounds in total to his chest, back and abdomen and spent two days in hospital. One of the stab wounds injured his lungs and he struggled to do any sport for a few months following the incident.

When asked why he initially got involved in the incident, the boy said because the man on the moped looked like he needed help but "more so because my own friends called me over and they needed help, they asked for it".

Under cross-examination, the boy agreed with Padraig Dwyer SC, defending, that he did some weight-lifting at the time, as well as Brazilian jiu jitsu, wrestling and kickboxing.

The boy disagreed with a suggestion that he did not ring gardaí when he realised a fight was going to begin on a public street as he and his friends had wanted to get involved. "That's not true," he replied.

Mr Dwyer also suggested to the witness that to say he got involved after he saw Mr Dunne in trouble was "manifestly untrue". The barrister put it to the witness that he was involved in the fight before the deceased had struck anybody. "Not to my recollection," the boy replied.

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Counsel also put it to the witness that he said in his direct examination that he got involved in the incident to protect other people but that Ms Dunne was not physically fighting with anybody when the witness became involved.

"You went straight into this fight prior to Josh having any physical contact with the Deliveroo drivers," Mr Dwyer asked, to which the boy disagreed.

The witness agreed he had hit the delivery cyclist in the dull clothing when his guard was down: "I was more annoyed that he hit me in the head," he said, agreeing that he had hit the same person again with a left hook.

The boy said he did not know if he had caused the injuries to delivery driver Guilherme Quieroz, who the court heard suffered a broken nose, broken teeth, a dislocated knee and a jaw injury.

'Faulty memory'

When asked how many punches he might have thrown, the boy said he threw five to six punches in total at the two delivery drivers; two at the cyclist wearing the dull colours and two-to-three at the other rider in orange.

He also told the jury he did not realise the man on the moped had stolen a bicycle, adding that he could not remember if the man had been aggressive or was doing most of the shouting.

CCTV footage of the incident was played to the witness and the boy agreed that Mr Quieroz had his back against the wall at one stage and was "surrounded".

He also agreed that his memory of events was inaccurate - that Mr Dunne was not being attacked after he crossed the road and that the witness had "went in" at the start.

When asked if this was due to his faulty memory or if he was deliberately trying to distort the picture of events, the boy said it was his "faulty memory".

In the aftermath of viewing the CCTV footage, the boy agreed with Mr Dwyer that he was part of a group of people who had surrounded Mr Quieroz that night, and he was one of the group who had attacked Mr Bento.

Ultimately, he agreed with defence counsel that the Brazilian men were outnumbered on the night, and it was not a fair fight.

The trial continues on Monday before Mr Justice Paul Burns and a jury of five men and seven women.

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