Tuesday 18 June 2019

Filmmaker refused access to recording of Marta Herda murder trial

Marta Herda. Photo: Collins Courts
Marta Herda. Photo: Collins Courts

Natasha Reid

A filmmaker has been refused access to a recording of the trial of a woman serving a life sentence for murdering a man by driving him into a deep harbour, where he drowned.

Robert Socha made the application to Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy at the Central Criminal Court this morning.

He told the judge, who presided over Polish woman Marta Herda’s trial, that he was a journalist and documentary filmmaker from Poland, and was asking for the audio court recording from her trial in order to make a documentary.

“Our goal is to get to the bottom of the case,” he said.

Mr Justice McCarthy said that, although there were some exceptions, the courts did not usually give out audio recordings or transcripts.

“It is not practice to give them out to the press. That’s no reflection on you,” he said. “It’s primary for reasons of policy.”

Herda, a former waitress, recently lost an appeal against her conviction for murdering 31-year-old Hungarian man Csaba Orsos on March 26, 2013.

The 30-year-old, who lived at Pairc Na Saile, Emoclew Road, Arklow, Co Wicklow, knew her passenger could not swim when she drove her Volkswagen Passat through the crash barriers at South Quay, Arklow shortly before 6am that day.

She had pleaded not guilty to the murder but a Central Criminal Court jury found her guilty and she was given the mandatory life sentence on July 28, 2016.

Her trial heard that she escaped through the driver’s window in the harbour but her colleague’s body was found on a nearby beach later that day. A post-mortem exam found that Mr Orsos died from drowning and not from injuries related to the crash.

The trial heard that the handbrake had been applied before the car entered the water and that the only open window was the driver’s.

She showed Gardaí a love letter that her victim had sent her and she gave them an account of what happened in the car.

“I remember I hit accelerator and I think I have enough of this, I have enough of him, I can no longer take this,” she said. “All I see is his angry face and screaming. I know that I drive to water. I could not take it anymore.”

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