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Thursday 8 December 2016

Gardai questioned for shielding lover

Media unable to photograph Treacy

Published 24/01/2010 | 05:00

The garda authorities will come under pressure when the Eamonn Lillis murder trial has concluded to explain why his former mistress, Jean Treacy, was taken through a secure entrance at the new Criminal Courts of Justice ensuring that press photographers could not take her picture.

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Ms Treacy gave evidence last week in the trial of Mr Lillis, who is charged with the murder of his wife, Celine Cawley, at their home in Howth in December 2008. Ms Treacy was having an affair with Mr Lillis at the time of his wife's death.

In her evidence, Ms Treacy spoke of how the "atmosphere" and "rapport" changed between herself and Mr Lillis and of how they entered into an eight-week sexual relationship. Asked if she was in love with him, she said: "At the time I thought I was, but it was more infatuation than anything. It came and went".

The Sunday Independent today publishes further exclusive images of Celine Cawley.

Representatives of the newspaper industry met the courts services on Friday, during which a number of issues were raised, including photographing witnesses.

"We raised the matter of Jean Treacy entering and leaving the court in secret and we were advised that this is a matter for discussion with the gardai and not a matter for the court services," a spokeswoman for the National Newspapers of Ireland said afterwards.

Asked why Ms Treacy had been facilitated by the gardai, a garda spokesman said: "It would not be appropriate for An Garda Siochana to make any comment in relation to an ongoing prosecution."

The matter is unlikely to rest there, however. It is expected to be raised when the trial ends, probably this week. Mr Lillis has begun his defence. His cross examination will continue tomorrow.

The trial is being held in the new criminal courts complex near the Phoenix Park in Dublin, which has been operating for just two weeks. The complex has an underground car park which can be used by members of the gardai.

There are lifts in the underground carpark which go to various parts of the building, giving direct access to courtrooms. The main entrance to the building is used by lawyers, journalists, jurors and witnesses.

Unlike other witnesses, Ms Treacy was taken by gardai through the underground entrance, which meant she did not have to face the photographers outside.

Asked last week why this had happened, a spokesman for the courts service said: "We would like to point out that the courts Service has no part to play in making a decision to transport witnesses through the secure entrance to the Criminal Courts of Justice."

Sunday Independent

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