News Courts

Sunday 18 August 2019

Arrest warrant issued for juror who failed to turn up in High Court after lunch break

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Tim Healy

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a juror who failed to turn up in the High Court following a lunchtime break.

The woman juror was among six men and six women sworn in on Tuesday to hear a defamation action by Turf Club head of security Chris Gordon against the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association (IRTA).

The juror left for lunch following an introductory speech to them about their duties by Mr Justice Bernard Barton but the court heard she did not stay with the other jurors over lunch. 

When she failed to turn up, the judge said he would exercise his power to continue the case with just 11 jurors.

The case resumed but the jury was sent out while legal argument took place between the parties.  Mr Gordon says he was defamed by the IRTA which denies his claims.

Before legal argument resumed on Wednesday, during the call over of cases, Mr Justice Barton said he was finding the missing juror in contempt and issued a bench warrant for the gardai to arrest her and bring her before the court.

Following further legal argument in the Gordon/IRTA case, the judge recalled the 11 jurors and told them he was discharging them.

This was due to a the fact that a genuine legal issue had arisen and the case would have to be adjourned to jury sittings in November.  He thanked the jury members for their service and said they would not have to return for the remainder of this jury session.

He also told the jury its discharge was completely unrelated to his decision over the juror who did not return.

The judge also said he had hoped the juror would have either turned up on Wednesday morning to explain her position or sent someone on her behalf but she had "essentially failed to comply with her oath" (to try the case). 

As a result he had found her in contempt and issued a warrant, he said.

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