THE teenager on trial accused of murdering 17-year-old Joshua Hall in Cam in April this year has now also denied a new alternative charge of manslaughter.
At Gloucester Crown Court yesterday (Nov 1) the 16 year old defendant denied unlawfully killing Joshua on April 17.
But although the new charge was added to the indictment yesterday, prosecutor James Dawes told the jury in his closing speech that the Crown still maintain the youth should be convicted by them of murder.
“The defendant signed a statement while he was being questioned by police that he went to the sports ground with two others and claimed that Joshua had made it clear to him that he wanted a fight,” said Mr Dawes.
“But he admitted during this trial that this part of his statement was not true. He said it was not a deliberate lie, but stated that he was confused because he was in strange environment, stressed and not in the best frame of mind.
“He wanted the police to believe that Joshua had insulted him and that he was the aggressor.
“What this tells you is that he is prepared to lie. If he is willing to lie about that to the police, this should be taken into account when making your decision.
“The prosecution say that the defendant was not acting in self defence as he had a concealed knife.
“What was the defendant’s intention? Did he intend to cause serious bodily harm?
“The defendant chose to bring the knife to the confrontation. He engineered the meeting and tried to recruit others to come to the fight.”
Edward Brown QC, defending, said in his closing speech that the jurors should put emotions aside as they examine the evidence and added: “You have to decide if the defendant intended to kill Joshua or cause him serious injury.
“The defendant has never once used a knife in a serious confrontation before, despite him having it on him.
“His account is that ‘if others carry a knife, so should I.’ But that does not mean that he had a murderous intent.”
The jury were reminded that when the defendant dialled the emergency services he told the call handler that he ‘didn’t mean to do it’ and repeated the same response to the arresting police officer stating: “It was me, I did it okay. I did it. I’m so sorry I didn’t mean to, honestly. Why did I do it?”
The judge, Mr Justice Chamberlain, explained to the jury they should ask themselves: “Are you sure that the sharp force injury was caused by the defendant deliberately stabbing Joshua?
“If someone is under attack they are entitled to defend themselves using no more than reasonable force. If you are sure the defendant was the aggressor then no question of self defence arises.”
The trial continues today.
The youth denies murdering Joshua Hall on April 17, and manslaughter, unlawful killing, on the same date.