Jury in Tralee murder trial to begin deliberations today

The jury in the trial of a man accused of murder in Tralee after an argument over a game of backgammon will begin their deliberations today at the Central Criminal Court. By DubhEire (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons Badri Khvedelidze  has pleaded not guilty to the murder of fellow Georgian George Tkeshelashvili on October 15 2005 at Westward Court in Tralee. In summing up the prosecution case Senior Counsel Tim O’Leary said that they had been given a credible account of the events leading to Mr Tkeshelashvili’s death by chief witness Givi Verdzeuli.  Mr Verdzeuli told the court that he saw the accused man arguing with Mr Tkeshelashvili and that Mr Tkeshelashvili insulted Mr Khvedelidze’s mother. He then saw the accused punch the other man in the chest and when he withdrew his hand he saw blood gushing out and then saw a knife in Mr Khvedelidze’s hand. Senior Counsel for the defence Kerida Naidoo said that Mr Verdzeuli is an unreliable witness. He said the 66-year-old first told gardaí that he did not see the incident. The following day he changed his story, giving the account that the prosecution is now claiming is the truth. Mr Naidoo said that another witness, Sow Unmi, a 45-year-old from Nigeria, who saw someone leaving the scene of the stabbing carrying a knife, failed to identify Mr Khvedelidze when presented with his photograph by gardai. When the jury begin deliberations, Justice Isobel Kennedy said they will be free to return with a verdict of murder, manslaughter or not guilty of any offence.