Sunday 17 December 2017

Jury in Jobstown trial told to 'be fearless' in decision

Deputy Paul Murphy has denied falsely imprisoning former Tanáiste Deputy Joan Burton. Photo: Collins Courts
Deputy Paul Murphy has denied falsely imprisoning former Tanáiste Deputy Joan Burton. Photo: Collins Courts

Andrew Phelan

The jury in the Jobstown false imprisonment trial were sent home for the night after beginning their deliberations.

The seven men and four women of the jury had spent less than an hour considering verdicts when Judge Melanie Greally told them to suspend deliberations.

They were told to return to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court at 2pm today.

The judge said the trial was at a "very critical stage" and there were "legal issues" that needed to be addressed.

Denied

Paul Murphy TD (34), along with local councillors Michael Murphy (53) and Kieran Mahon (39) and three other men - Michael Banks (46), Frank Donaghy (71) and Scott Masterson (34) - have all denied falsely imprisoning former Tánaiste Joan Burton and her adviser Karen O'Connell at Fortunestown Road, Jobstown, Tallaght, Dublin, on November 15, 2014.

Former Tanáiste Deputy Joan Burton. Photo: Tom Burke
Former Tanáiste Deputy Joan Burton. Photo: Tom Burke

The jury was sent out at 3.10pm yesterday and they returned at 4.01pm.

"There are some legal issues that have to be addressed arising from my directions to you," Judge Greally told them.

She advised the jury members not to discuss the case with anybody else.

Earlier, Judge Greally had concluded delivering her charge to the jury. She told them that they had to "be fearless and put aside any sympathy or strong views".

Judge Greally told the members of the jury she did not expect them to be "deaf or blind" to the issues around the case, but said they must base their decision solely on the evidence.

The judge told the jury to put aside any strong views about the political climate which led to the protest.

She urged them to be analytical and said "your decision must be yours and yours alone".

Judge Greally said the jury must not rely on any factual material that did not form part of the evidence.

She warned them "in the strongest possible terms" not to carry out any research which, she said, "could have catastrophic consequences for the trial".

Onus

She said each of the six accused was presumed innocent and the onus of proof was on the prosecution.

The standard of proof was beyond a reasonable doubt, she continued.

The video evidence seen should be viewed as "supplementing" the evidence and any discrepancies were an issue for the jury to decide.

Any shortcomings or deficiencies in the evidence should operate in favour of the accused, the judge said.

The case against each accused must be taken on its own merits and not be viewed as a collective or "one size fits all".

Judge Greally told the jury none of the men was accused of any act of violence and any acts of violence carried out by others on the day should not be visited on them.

However, she said it would be wrong to suggest that the violence of others was not a relevant circumstance in the case.

The judge said there was no requirement for violence to be used to restrict liberty in the offence.

The prosecution was maintaining that the accused acted intentionally in depriving Ms Burton and Ms O'Connell of their liberty. Recklessness did not feature in the case.

The jury will continue deliberating today.

Irish Independent

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