Tuesday 25 June 2019

Jury in Ana Kriegel trial likely to begin deliberations today

Schoolgirl Ana Kriegel was killed in May of last year
Schoolgirl Ana Kriegel was killed in May of last year
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

A jury in the trial of two boys accused of murdering Ana Kriegel is expected to begin its deliberations today.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott told jurors yesterday he expected to conclude his charge to them this morning.

In his address to them, Judge McDermott said the jury cannot speculate or guess or make up theories about the evidence.

He said the jury should only act on good, credible evidence.

He said the jury could rely on lies told by the teenagers as evidence of guilt, but only if the prosecution had established, beyond a reasonable doubt, that there was no other innocent explanation.

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.

Yesterday, the judge continued to address the jury.

He said the jury must consider very carefully the issue of Boy B's presence at the scene.

He said that mere presence was not participation in a crime, and presence, by itself, being a bystander, did not justify a conviction for murder.

The judge said that it was different if a person did something preparatory, or assisted. That was something quite different, he said, that was an act of participation.

If a person came across a shooting and did nothing, that's not a participant, but it was different if a person sourced a gun for the shooter, or drove the getaway car. 

The judge said the prosecution had to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Boy B knew what the other boy was going to do.

However, if there was any reasonable explanation, consistent with Boy B not having any knowledge, then the jury must acquit.

The judge also spoke about circumstantial evidence, saying it was circumstances or facts, none of which could separately lead to a conviction, but which taken together may create a conclusion of guilt, beyond a reasonable doubt.

He said there were a large number of pieces of circumstantial evidence, including forensic evidence, in this case, and the jury had to consider each of them, separately and as a whole, and assess their accumulated weight.

Judge McDermott said the jury must look at the circumstantial evidence as a whole, and in considering that evidence and in reaching a conclusion they must not speculate, or guess or make up theories.

Judge McDermott asked the jurors to put on their "teenage glasses" and consider the interviews which gardaí conducted with the accused through the eyes of a 13-year-old.

The judge also told the jury that they, and they alone, were the judges of facts in this case.

Judge McDermott also spoke about lies, saying the prosecution case was that lies were told to cover up guilt and for no other reason.

However, the judge warned the jury that lies had been told in the past by accused people who were innocent.

He said people may lie because of shame or to conceal disgraceful behaviour. They may also lie out of panic, confusion or misjudgement. 

To rely on a lie, the judge said that prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that there was no innocent explanation for the lie. 

The judge has begun to summarise the evidence to the jury.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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