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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: -2°C
Bohemian Football Club Josh Dunne

Josh Dunne trial: Teenage witness says two Brazilian delivery riders were 'outnumbered' in fight

On of the riders, George Gonzaga Bento, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of schoolboy Josh Dunne.

A 17-YEAR-OLD murder trial witness has described the moment he realised a food-delivery cyclist hadn’t punched him but had instead stabbed him three times, telling the 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 underage, agreed with Padraig Dwyer SC, for the accused, that the two Brazilian delivery riders were “outnumbered” on the night that schoolboy Josh Dunne was killed and that it was not “a fair fight”.

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

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. Josh Dunne and other youths arrived at the scene and got involved in the confrontation.

Giving evidence today, 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 that a fight was about to start.

The boy told the jury that 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”. One of the Deliveroo drivers, he said, hit the man on the moped, who then turned around and asked the youths for help.

The boy said Josh and another boy ran across the road but that he was a bit hesitant to go over.

“When the fight began, [the other boy] turned to me and shouted ‘quick boys help’,” he said.

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

The Deliveroo driver in the dull clothes, he said, came towards the witness and they exchanged “digs”. Josh was “face to face” with the Deliveroo cyclist in orange at the time.

The boy said the Deliveroo 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 said.

The boy said it felt like someone had hit him in the lower back and he realised it was the Deliveroo driver 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 Deliveroo driver in orange who was then fighting with Josh.

“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 Deliveroo driver in orange to the torso area and said they were “normal, straight punches”.

At one stage, the boy looked down into the Deliveroo driver’s hand, saw 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 that a blade or weapon was held by anyone involved in the incident.

The boy said he then stepped back and saw Josh 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.

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

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 afterwards.

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 and Brazilian jiu jitsu, wrestling and kickboxing.

He also agreed that what he at first thought was a blow to his lower torso was a stab wound.

The boy disagreed with a suggestion that he didn’t ring gardai 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 Josh in trouble was “manifestly untrue”.

The barrister put it to the witness that he was involved in the fight before Josh had struck anybody. “Not to my recollection,” replied the boy.

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

“You went straight into this fight prior to Josh having any physical contact with the Deliveroo drivers,” asked Mr Dwyer. The boy said this was not true.

He agreed that he had hit the Deliveroo driver in the dull clothing when his guard was down. “I was more annoyed that he hit me in the head,” said the boy. The boy agreed 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 Deliveroo driver Guilherme Quieroz, who the court heard suffered a broken nose, broken teeth, a dislocated knee and a jaw injury.

Mr Dwyer put it to the boy today that he had thrown lots of punches during this incident. “I wouldn’t say I was,” he replied.

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

When asked if he accepted that his “mates” threw punches and kicks, the boys said “punches yes”.

He also told the jury that he did not realise that the man on the moped had stolen a bicycle and could not remember if he [man on moped] was aggressive and 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 that he was “surrounded”.

He also agreed that his memory of events were inaccurate and that Josh 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 was he deliberately trying to distort the picture of events, the boy said it was his “faulty memory”.

Finally 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 that 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.