The jury in the trial of a 16-year-old boy for the murder of a woman on her way home from work in Dublin last year has been sent home for the night and will resume its deliberations in the morning.
49-year-old Uransetseg Tserendorj was declared dead in hospital on 29 January 2021, nine days after being stabbed near the Financial Services Centre.
The boy, who was 14 at the time, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter.
The jurors have heard the main issue for them to decide will be the boy's state of mind at the time of the stabbing.
Lawyers for the defence told the jurors the boy’s intention on the night was to rob Ms Tserendorj, not to kill her or cause serious injury.
Prosecution lawyers said it was the boy’s own decision to produce a knife and use it in the robbery.
This could only have resulted in serious injury and the only logical conclusion on a cold analysis of the evidence was a verdict of guilty of murder.
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Earlier, the court heard evidence from the accused boy's aunt and grandmother, who had raised him as a son.
The boy’s grandmother told the court the boy’s mother and father each had a very serious addiction to heroin.
He himself was born suffering from withdrawal symptoms and was treated in intensive care. His grandmother said she had brought him home from hospital and raised him as if he was her son. She was his mam to him, she said.
The woman said the boy had been abusing drugs from the age of 12 and had been stealing to pay for them.
She said there was a family event in her house on 21 January 2021. When it was over, the boy came downstairs with one of her sons who said the boy had something to tell her.
He said the woman stabbed in the IFSC the previous day was him. He told her "it was me who did it".
She said she had not heard anything about the stabbing and was really upset. The boy was upset too and said he did not mean to do it.
He was crying and said he was going up to the garda station to hand himself in. He told her he did not know he "got her".
As they prepared to go to the garda station, a garda rang the boy’s grandmother on her phone to tell him they were outside and wanted to come in to talk to the boy about a stolen electric bike. She told the garda the boy had just told her he had done "something terrible."
Earlier, the boy’s aunt told the court she was in the car with the boy earlier on the same evening when an item came on the radio news about the stabbing. She said the boy became very agitated and asked for the radio to be turned up and then to be taken home.
In his closing speech to the jury, Prosecuting Counsel Seán Gillane said the central issue in the case was very straightforward although not necessarily easy to resolve.
Mr Gillane told them they should analyse the state of mind of the accused at the time.
He said the DPP’s view was that the boy made a decision despite his young age, to go out and rob someone with a knife. He came across Ms Tserendorj on her way home and he made a decision to rob her.
It was his decision to approach her, Mr Gillane said, his decision to produce the knife he had in his possession and his decision to use it. He said provocation and self defence did not arise.
When he chose to do that and to use the knife in the way he did - stabbing Ms Tserendorj just below the ear - it can only have resulted in serious injury, Mr Gillane said.
It can only have been the intention of the person wielding the knife to cause such injury, he added.
That was the only logical conclusion on a cold analysis of the evidence he said. The DPP contended the appropriate verdict was guilty of murder.
Defence counsel Michael O’Higgins said the jurors had to determine if the boy intended to cause serious injury or death. The answer to that question would inform them what the proper verdict was, he said.
Mr O’Higgins said the boy’s intentions were not honourable on 20 January 2021. He had a significant drug dependency at 14 years old and was stealing from people to finance that habit. On that night, he wanted money and was looking for "soft targets" when he saw Ms Tserendorj walking on her own.
His intention was to rob her, to get money to get drugs, Mr O’Higgins said. His intention was not to seriously injure her. He was unsuccessful and there was no gratuitous attempt to injure her.
He said at the end of the incident the boy got back on his bicycle and cycled off and Ms Tserendorj walked away. Mr O’Higgins said the boy was unaware he had injured her in any significant way.
He told the jurors a witness had described the boy as being under the influence of drugs.
He pointed out to them that they were dealing with a 14-year-old and asked if it was possible that intoxication had affected his coordination or his thinking.
The CCTV footage showed flailing arms, Mr O’Higgins said, and it was hard to know if the injury was inflicted accidentally or whether it was a jab.
It was inflicted in a moment of clumsiness with no precision underpinning it, Mr O’Higgins said, rather than in a vicious, hostile, aggressive manner.
Mr O’Higgins said the boy accepts his actions caused Ms Tserendorj’s death and was criminally liable for them.
But, he said, they were dealing with a 14-year-old boy. 14-year-olds do not have wisdom, do not always do things in a very clear, well thought out way, he said.
He told the jurors they were holding the life of a 14-year-old in their hands and the appropriate verdict was not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.
Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring told the jurors a person’s intention was their purpose or objective and they were entitled to infer a person’s intention from their behaviour.
It did not need to be a long-standing intent - it was sufficient for it to be formed in a matter of seconds. She also reminded them that they were dealing with a 14-year-old and they should use their own knowledge of young people in looking at his actions.
She reminded them they had each taken an oath and each had to make their own decision.
The judge told them their decision must be unanimous.