Thursday 17 October 2019

Ana Kriegel trial: Judge tells jurors to 'exclude sympathy' from deliberations

Leave your emotions at the door, jury is urged as case nears its end

‘Enormous grace’: Parents of Ana Kriegel, Patric and Geraldine, attend the trial. Photo: Collins Courts
‘Enormous grace’: Parents of Ana Kriegel, Patric and Geraldine, attend the trial. Photo: Collins Courts
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

Jurors in the trial of two boys accused of murdering Ana Kriegel have been told to leave their emotions outside the door when they begin their deliberations.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott told the jury to exclude normal sympathy and empathy from the decision-making process.

The judge has begun giving his charge to the jury.

The two accused, who were both aged 13 at the time, have pleaded not guilty before the Central Criminal Court to murdering 14-year-old Ana Kriegel at Glenwood House, Laraghcon, Clonee Road in Lucan, on May 14, 2018.

Boy A has also denied a charge of aggravated sexual assault.

In his charge to the jury, Judge McDermott said jurors must make their decision on the basis of the facts, on the evidence that had been heard in this case.

Ana Kriegel
Ana Kriegel

He said it was essential that jurors be independent of mind and be clinical in their analysis of the facts.

The judge said it might be useful for the jury to consider the evidence in respect of Boy A first, and then the case in respect of Boy B. This was the way the prosecution had presented the case, he added.

Judge McDermott will continue to sum up the case this morning.

Yesterday, the defence counsel made their closing addresses to the jury.

Patrick Gageby SC, for Boy A, asked the jury to consider if there was any real evidence that Boy A had "planned any of this at all".

He asked the jury to consider if there was "any solid or real evidence" of Boy A's intention to kill or his intention to kill Ana.

"Has any witness given evidence that Boy A ever said he wanted to kill?" Mr Gageby asked jurors.

Mr Gageby said one teenager had nothing to say about it, and a second teenager, in his evidence, said Boy A had said it but only as a throwaway comment, in a joking way.

The lawyer said there wasn't "a pick of evidence" from the witness box in relation to it.

Mr Gageby said he was not going to tell the jury what their verdict should be, as that was a matter for them. "Your area is the facts," he said.

The lawyer said the accused were only 13 at the time of this incident, and only a year out of primary school. He asked the jury to recognise that young people, particularly those in their early teens, "have an immaturity".

Mr Gageby also said it was worth acknowledging the "enormous grace" which Ana's parents had exhibited in the face of the evidence over the last seven weeks.

In his closing speech, Damien Colgan SC, for Boy B, said the prosecution cannot prove that Boy A and Boy B conspired or planned to kill Ana.

He said Boy B told a friend that Boy A had "snaked him" as he got him to collect Ana from her home. Mr Colgan said that's "exactly what happened".

"Boy B was set up by his co-accused," he added.

Mr Colgan said there was no DNA evidence connecting Boy B to the scene, nor was there any DNA evidence connecting him to Boy A.

Mr Colgan said the prosecution case is that the two boys planned this together and Boy B collected Ana and brought her to Boy A who then did "untold things" to her.

However, Mr Colgan said this theory does not hold water, and "does not add up in any shape or form".

He said there was "no plan" and Boy B had "no knowledge". He had given gardaí an innocent explanation of collecting Ana - namely, that he had been asked to do so by Boy A who wanted to discuss relationship issues with her.

Mr Colgan then asked the jury to consider what person in their right mind would go to a house, where he's known, and collect a girl, knowing that she would be dead within 45 minutes.

Mr Colgan said this was "so off the radar" that it's not even feasible.

He said the prosecution was relying on Boy B's lies during his interviews with gardaí and arguing this was somehow sufficient to prove its case.

Mr Colgan said Boy B was "clearly telling lies, there's no two ways about it", but he reminded the jury of pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy's evidence when she agreed any person would have been traumatised by what they had seen in that room.

He said the jury must analyse the prosecution case with "a fine tooth comb".

Mr Colgan told the jury they cannot convict Boy B if they believe what he said, that he didn't know what was going to happen to Ana on that day.

Mr Colgan also said that if they have a doubt about what happened they must also give the benefit of the doubt to Boy B and find him not guilty.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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