Daniel Laskos stabbing: Defence urges jury to put 'sympathy and prejudice to one side'
- Credit: Met Police
The barrister for the teenager accused of inflicting the stab wound which killed a 16-year-old in Harold Wood has urged jurors to put "sympathy and prejudice to one side” in their deliberations.
Six young people are currently on trial on murder charges over the fatal stabbing of Daniel Laskos, who was attacked outside Church Road News and Wine convenience store on May 7 last year.
Joshua Kerr, 19, of Armstrong Avenue in Woodford Green; Callum Hands, 20, of Vincent Road in Dagenham; Rakeem Green-Matthews, 19, of Gulderose Road in Harold Wood; Loushawn Barnes, 19, of Little Aston Road in Harold Wood; Renee Saint Ange, 18, of Woodstock Avenue in Harold Wood; and a 16-year-old boy who cannot be named all deny murdering the teenager.
Kerr is the defendant accused of administering the fatal stab wound to Daniel's neck.
Addressing the Old Bailey today (March 25), his barrister Jennifer Dempster said: "Could it be that this case isn’t as open and shut as the prosecution contends, as far as Joshua Kerr is concerned?"
During her closing speech, Ms Dempster said the core issue is "intention".
Asking jurors to determine what Kerr "wanted to happen on May 7", she rebuffed the prosecution's claim that the defendants - including Kerr - went out with a determination to attack Daniel Laskos.
Addressing that her client sustained an injury to his arm during the incident, Ms Dempster asked: "Are you as a jury going to make some allowance for his reaction to being stabbed first?”
She further argued that Kerr's claim of self-defence should not be dismissed.
“You can see who gets their knife out first and it’s not Joshua Kerr," she told the jury.
Ms Dempster said the jury can't be sure - to the beyond reasonable doubt threshold required - that Kerr intended to kill Daniel because after inflicting a "single wound", he “immediately spins around and runs away”.
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The representatives for Loushawn Barnes and Rakeem Green-Matthews also gave their closing speeches today.
On behalf of Barnes, David Spens said: “He had no knife. He did have a pole with him, which he didn’t get out, let alone make use of."
Arguing his client's previous good character, he added: "The essence of Loushawn's case is that he was not part of any joint enterprise."
Green-Matthews' barrister Stanley Reiz argued his client's actions were "consistent with an intention to threaten, not to injure”.
Arguing he joined in with the others to "look threatening", Mr Reiz claimed there is "no evidence that Rakeem Green-Matthews said anything to encourage Joshua Kerr”.
Prosecutor William Emlyn Jones QC has maintained throughout the proceedings that "it does not matter which one of the six defendants inflicted the fatal stab wound".
At the opening of the trial earlier this month, he claimed: "The CCTV shows a group of six acting together as a team.
"Encouraged by their strength in numbers and their variety of friends, they jointly committed the attack."
The trial continues.