Monday 21 May 2018

Jury discharged after juror fell asleep just 15 minutes into trial opening

Stock picture
Stock picture

Isabel Hayes

The jury in a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court trial has been discharged after a juror fell asleep 15 minutes into the trial opening.

Garrett Baker BL, prosecuting, was giving his opening address in the trial of Dean Joyce on Monday when it was perceived that one of the male jurors was in fact asleep.

Mr Baker was about 15 minutes into his address and was explaining the concept of “beyond reasonable doubt” when the sleeping juror was discovered. The opening address came to a halt as a jury minder approached the juror and woke him up.

After a short adjournment, defence barrister Pieter Le Vert BL told Judge Elma Sheahan that another male juror had also appeared to be on the verge of nodding off during the opening address.

“It would seem two jurors were struggling,” Mr Le Vert said.

Mr Baker joked that it was a “new low” for opening addresses.

The court heard it may not be legally possible to replace the two jurors, as the trial had already opened. As a result, Judge Sheahan ruled that she should discharge the entire jury.

“In a most unusual turn of events, I'm going to thank you for your service and discharge you, ” she told them.

Mr Joyce (24) with an address in Rowlagh Park, Clondalkin, Dublin has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges, including endangering gardaí by driving his car into a garda van, four counts of dangerous driving and possession of stolen property in Ballyfermot and Clondalkin on March 3, 2015.

He also pleaded not guilty to driving without a licence, driving without insurance, possession of a boxcutter that was used in a burglary, criminal damage of a garda van and failing to stop for gardaí on the same date.

A new jury will be sworn in on Tuesday.

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