Technical issue forces collapse of cruelty trial
The trial of a mother accused of cruelty and neglect of eight of her children has collapsed as a result of a technical issue.
At Galway Circuit Criminal Court the jury in the trial was discharged after it emerged that videolink evidence in the case had not been recorded as a result of technical difficulties.
The videolink had been used by the defendant's eldest child to give evidence from another room in the court on Wednesday.
After the issue came to light yesterday, Judge Karen O'Connor said she had no alternative but to discharge the jury in the circumstances as by law such evidence must be recorded.
Judge O'Connor said she was discharging the jury with "genuine regret" and thanked jurors for their time and attention.
She said the trial would reconvene with a new jury in due course.
The 39-year-old woman, who cannot be named, faces 44 charges of child cruelty or neglect against eight of her children, who ranged in age from teenagers to young toddlers at the time.
The charges relate to alleged abuses at five different addresses in the West over a five-year period from 2006 to 2011. The defendant denies all charges.
The alleged neglect came to light after all the children were taken into care following an unannounced visit by social workers in May 2011.
The case is expected to last for two to three weeks and will hear evidence from the children involved, neighbours, the HSE, gardaí and other professionals who had dealings with the family. Judge O'Connor listed the trial for a date in early January.