Murder-accused had ‘good intentions’ when pursuing bike thief but was met with ‘violent and savage’ assault, court told

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When George Bento pursued a bike thief through Dublin city centre he had only “good intentions” but was met with a “violent and savage” assault that resulted in the death of 16-year-old Josh Dunne, a defence barrister has told the Central Criminal Court.

adraig Dwyer SC is delivering his closing speech to the jury this afternoon, telling them that his client is an innocent, good and hard-working man who used reasonable force to defend himself and his friend from a “punishment beating”. Counsel said that Mr Bento tried to prevent a crime from being committed and added: “It is a mistake that Irish people would not make because we know the consequences of trying to stop a crime in this city; that you become a victim of crime yourself.”

He said Mr Bento was set upon in a “violent, ugly and unlawful” attack where several people were attacking him and his friend. He said that Mr Bento produced the only thing he could use to defend himself, a knife that he carried for cutting fruit.

Prosecution counsel Sean Guerin SC, for the prosecution, said Mr Bento had exaggerated the threat posed by his attackers. He added that when Mr Bento produced the knife a second time and used it to stab one of the alleged victims, the fight had already died down. He said that Josh Dunne then reacted to seeing his friend being stabbed by using reasonable force in punching Mr Bento to push him away. Mr Bento, counsel said, reacted to Josh Dunne’s reasonable response with lethal force and should be convicted of murder.

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

Mr Bento is also accused of producing a utility knife in a manner likely to intimidate another in the course of a dispute or fight. 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 produced a knife during a “stand-off or confrontation” with a man on a moped who had stolen another delivery cyclist’s bike. Josh Dunne and other youths arrived at the scene and got involved in the confrontation.

Barristers will continue their closing addresses to the 12 jurors this afternoon in the trial, which is presided over by Mr Justice Paul Burns.



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