THE prosecution has not proved the man accused of killing teenager Daniel Kirkwood and wounding two of his friends had a knife or used it against the victims, his barrister has argued.
Michael Borelli QC urged the jury at Warwick Crown Court to find Tobijah Thompson not guilty of murdering 18-year-old Daniel, who died after being stabbed in the neck.
He also argued Thompson should be cleared of wounding Niall Kavanagh and Nigel Mkhwananzi with intent to cause them grievous bodily harm during the incident in Society night club in Coventry in March last year.
Thompson (25) who divided his time between his sister’s home in Bearwood, Birmingham, and an address in Towpath Close, Bedworth, has denied those charges, violent disorder, assault and possessing a knife in the nightclub.
Four other men accused of sharing Thompson’s ‘murderous intent’ had been jointly charged with the murder of Daniel, who was out celebrating a friend’s birthday.
But Zaker Khan (25) of Belchers Lane, Small Heath, who is still in the dock facing the violent disorder and assault charges, has been found not guilty of the murder and the two woundings on the directions of the judge, Mr Justice Mark Warby.
Hasham Ali (19) of Amberley Green, Great Barr; Ramez Murtaza (21) of Bordesley Green East, Bordesley Green; and Ezra Scott (32) of Hawksyard Road, Erdington, pleaded guilty during the trial to violent disorder, and will be sentenced at a later date.
Mr Borelli told the jury: “Some things in life never change. The constant accusation the prosecution have levelled against Mr Thompson is that he is the principal in this murder and the two woundings.
“That three members of the birthday group were victims of knife injuries cannot be disputed, nor can it be disputed that some of the defendants played a part in a violent disorder.
“But it must be obvious to you that there were at least a few others present who seized upon the opportunity, once violence had erupted, to participate in some way. It wasn’t restricted to the birthday group and the defendants’ party.
“The earlier stance that everyone in the defendants’ group must have been aware Mr Thompson had a knife and assisted in his alleged murderous use of the knife has melted away.
“What happened that leads to those charges of murder and section 18 (wounding with intent) has been a terrible tragedy for all those involved and for their families and friends. Their anguish and loss cannot even be imagined.
“But the anger and loss caused by a wrongful conviction would be too terrible to contemplate.”
Abdul Iqbal QC, for Khan, told the jury: “There is no such thing as guilt by mere association… There is no evidence that Zaker Khan unlawfully laid a finger on anyone in that night club.”
The trial continues.