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Trial begins over Bray Boxing Club murder and attempted murder of Pete Taylor and one other

Gerard Cervi (34) has denied the charges.

Image: Niall Carson

A ” LONE GUNMAN” fired nine shots from a semi automatic pistol “in quick succession” in “varying directions” inside a boxing gym in Bray, leaving one man dead and two other men injured “before making good his escape”, a prosecution barrister has told a murder trial.

Gerard Cervi (34) has gone on trial at the Central Criminal Court today accused of murdering Bobby Messett and the attempted murder of two other men – boxing trainer Peter Taylor and Ian Britton.

It was during the opening of the trial of Mr Cervi that a prosecuting barrister told the court that it is the State’s case that the gunman is the accused and asked the jurors what are the natural and probable consequences of firing a gun nine times in varying directions in a confined place with 12 persons present.

Mr Cervi from the East Wall area in Dublin 3 has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Messett (50) at Bray Boxing Club, Bray Harbour, Bray, Co Wicklow on June 5, 2018.

He also denies the attempted murder of boxing trainer Peter Taylor and Ian Britton on the same date and location.

Opening the prosecution’s case this afternoon, Paul Murray SC said the court will hear evidence that a lone gunman entered Bray Boxing Club just before 7am on June 5, 2018, where there was an exercise class taking place with 12 people.

Mr Murray said the organiser of the class was Peter Taylor and there were 11 participants in the class. “Nothing was said, no warning was given and the gunman fired a number of shots from a type of semi automatic pistol in quick succession in varying directions before making good his escape,” he said.

In his wake, Mr Murray said, the gunman left Mr Messett dead and two other men, Mr Taylor and Mr Britton, injured.

The prosecution barrister went on to tell the court that the prosecution case is that “the lone gunman” who entered Bray Boxing Club was Mr Cervi.

“The issue you have to decide is if the gunman was Mr Cervi and you will on top of that have to decide the three charges against him,” he added.

Outlining the facts of the case, Mr Murray said that Mr Messett and Mr Britton were participants in the class and Mr Taylor was the organiser of the class.

Counsel said that the prosecution do not have to prove motive in a murder case. “The prosecution do not have to show that the person had some alleged reason for going to a particular place to target a person or persons,” he remarked. He said that what was “paramount” was an intention to cause serious injury.

Mr Murray put three rhetorical questions to the jurors, which he said would be answered by them in their deliberations.

Firstly, the lawyer asked what are the natural and probable consequences of firing a gun nine times in varying directions in a confined place with 12 persons present.

Mr Murray also asked what are the natural and probable consequences of firing bullets at someone’s head which he said was how Mr Messett had died.

Furthermore, Mr Murray asked what are the natural and probable consequences of firing bullets into the bodies of Mr Taylor and Mr Britton in a confined place. “The fact neither of those individuals died as a result of what happened doesn’t mean that the necessity of the charge of attempted murder cannot be made out.

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“If there is an intention to kill or cause serious injury, whether the person was killed or not, the charge of attempted murder can be made out irrespective of the injury sustained,” he said.

He said that if the 12 jurors were satisfied of the guilt of Mr Cervi on one, or two or all three charges then they were entitled to return a guilty verdict in those circumstances.

Mr Murray further stated that there was in effect “three mini trials” taking place in the one trial saying: “The trial relating to the murder charge of Mr Messett, the attempted murder charge of Mr Taylor and the attempted murder charge of Mr Britton.”

He said that the standard of proof that the jurors will “have to bring to bear” in the case is beyond a reasonable doubt, which he explained was a very high standard.

In summary, Mr Murray said there was a considerable number of witnesses in the case and the prosecution’s contention was not to “secure a conviction at all costs” but to present the case to the jury, call the evidence and then let them decide.

The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Michael White and a jury of three men and nine women. It is expected to last eight weeks.

About the author:

Alison O'Riordan

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