Thursday 20 June 2019

Put on teenage glasses, judge tells jury in Ana Kriegel murder trial

Justice Paul McDermott addressed jurors at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin.

By Aoife Moore, Press Association

The judge in the trial of two boys accused of murdering schoolgirl Ana Kriegel has told jurors to put on “teenage glasses” when considering some of the evidence.

Justice Paul McDermott told the jurors they could rely on lies allegedly told by the boys as evidence of guilt, if the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt that there was no innocent explanation.

Ana’s naked body was found with a ligature around the neck in a derelict house in Lucan, Co Dublin, days after she went missing in May last year.

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Ana Kriegel (PA)

Former state pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy identified around 60 areas of injury on the schoolgirl’s head and body, and concluded the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and neck.

Two 14-year-old boys, who cannot be identified due to their age, are standing trial accused of murder.

Boy A has pleaded not guilty to murder and sexual assault “involving serious violence”.

Boy B has pleaded not guilty to murder.

“Lies have been told in the past by accused persons who are in fact innocent,” Justice McDermott said.

“People lie for many reasons – people can lie because of shame, they may lie to conceal disgraceful behaviour from their family, for example in an allegation of sexual assault, they can deny ever meeting a person, because the man doesn’t want his wife to know he was unfaithful.

“In other circumstances, lies have been told out of panic, or misjudgement, out of confusion. You can rely on lies as evidence of guilt if there’s proof of deliberate lies that relate to material issues.

“The prosecution must prove there is no other innocent explanation for the lie.”

It is fair to consider this from a 13-year-old's perspective, so please do so when considering interview responses given Judge Paul McDermott

He told the jury of eight men and four women at the Criminal Courts of Justice that they cannot “speculate or guess or make up theories”, and that it is “important to consider what is evidence and what is not evidence. Just because an interviewer asks a question and indicates a particular view of the case, does not give it quality of evidence”.

He added: “Police suspicions are not evidence, and an outline by a garda in an interview isn’t itself evidence.”

Describing the interview process by gardai, Mr McDermott urged jurors to put on “teenage glasses”.

“For anyone in those circumstances it is an alien environment, not a normal environment for anyone, but it is fair to consider this from a 13-year-old’s perspective, so please do so when considering interview responses given.

“From an adult perspective put on teenage glasses.”

Justice McDermott gave a lengthy rundown of the evidence heard in the trial, including summaries of witnesses, the boys’ interviews and experts in forensic science.

The prosecution alleges Boy B aided and abetted in Ana’s murder by helping Boy A.

Boy B told interviewers he ran away when he realised his friend was raping the schoolgirl, and said he was not involved in the attack.

Defence counsel for Boy A told the court there was not “one bit of evidence from the witness box” to suggest the accused planned to kill Ana.

Press Association

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