The sentencing of a pig farmer convicted of assaulting two men from a repossession company took a dramatic turn when he sought a mistrial because of 'jury misconduct'.
The DPP has ordered an investigation after the allegations of jury misconduct made at the trial.
Donal Connaughton (54) from Elfeet, Newtowncashel, Co Longford, was found guilty before Christmas of two counts of false imprisonment, two charges of threatening to cause serious harm, one count of assault and two of criminal damage.
The six-day trial in December heard how Connaughton ordered the two repo men to strip and get into a pen with an agitated boar during a row which lasted almost half an hour.
The two men were assaulted and were made kneel and pray before they were allowed leave on foot from his farmyard.
His wife Margaret (52) was found not guilty on six charges when she appeared before Longford Circuit Court.
Connaughton appeared before Judge Anthony Hunt at Longford Circuit Court yesterday to be sentenced but prosecuting counsel Donal Keane said that a matter had been brought to his attention in the past two days.
He said he did not wish to go into detail but it was a serious matter and requested time for it to be investigated.
The defendant, who represented himself in court, stood up and told Judge Hunt that he would like to put forward a motion seeking a mistrial.
"I'm looking for a mistrial in view of serious evidence I have brought to the gardai in relation to jury misconduct," said Connaughton.
Judge Hunt said that the defendant would have to bring such a matter to another court. He was content that the trial had been conducted properly and that a jury verdict had been returned.
The court rose for a short break and afterwards Mr Keane said that the prosecution would require around eight weeks to investigate the matter.
In December, the jury heard a 22-minute recording, which had been taken by one of the repossession men on his mobile phone when the incident happened on April 29, 2010.
Patrick Mulvey and Justin Tighe, employees of Assets Security in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, had earlier told the court that they feared for their lives after going to JAC Pigs Ltd in Co Longford to repossess items on behalf of GE Money.
A scuffle had taken place in the yard at the pig farm during which Mr Mulvey and Mr Tighe said they were assaulted.
They had told the court in evidence that Connaughton had ordered them to strip and get into the pen with the agitated boar and they feared they were going to be violated by the animal, which could be heard on the audio recording which was played in court.
Connaughton, who was accompanied in court by his wife and family, was remanded on continuing bail to appear before the court on June 5.