Sunday 18 March 2018

Not everyone is amused as light moment passes by with a sigh

Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

JUDGE Barry White had just got to the part where Jean Treacy had told how Eamonn Lillis had placed his hand on her pulse, when he stopped and looked up.

His eyes twinkled. It reminded him of a song from a film he saw years ago, he reminisced -- some of the people on the jury might be too young to remember it -- when Peter Sellers sang 'Goodness Gracious Me' to Sophia Loren.

There were muffled snorts of laughter in court as onlookers recalled the "Boom-diddy-boom-diddy-boom" line to which the venerable judge was referring.

Mr Lillis never looked up over his reading glasses from his habitual exercise of writing, but a slow flush crept up, covering his neck and face. It was clear he was not amused.

It was almost with a wistful sigh that Judge White went back to the matter at hand -- no laughing matter to be sure -- of continuing his summing up of the evidence in his charge of the jury.

At their seats at the back of the courtroom, the Cawley family sat perched in tense watchfulness, faces almost frantic with anxiety, as they waited for the jury to be charged and sent away for their deliberations.

Throughout it all, Mr Lillis continued to labour, his head bowed, steadily writing away.

Across the room, his elder sister closed her eyes momentarily and we caught a glimpse of the strain she, too, must be under.

After lunch the jury was dispatched, but an hour later it was summonsed back to receive further instructions.

Judge White endeavoured to clarify a few things.

He had already told them that he carried no sword for the prosecution nor shield for the defence, he pointed out.

"That's my position and I hope you do not think otherwise or that my charge was directed toward securing a particular verdict because it was not," he said.

He dispatched the jury again to their deliberations.

Half-an-hour later, they were back again. They wanted to know if they could listen to the taped 999 call, to see the Rip Curl bag and its contents discovered in the attic of Mr Lillis's home and the clothes found in the wardrobe.

They also wanted the garda statements taken from Jean Treacy and Mr Lillis's teenage daughter, the state pathologist's report and a transcript of the evidence given by Mr Lillis in court.

We could be in for a long wait.

Irish Independent

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