Saturday 24 March 2018

Tipperary goalkeeper faces €32k theft trial days before All-Ireland hurling qualifier

Tipperary hurler Darren Gleeson. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Tipperary hurler Darren Gleeson. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

TIPPERARY hurling goalkeeper Darren Gleeson (35) faces trial just days before an All-Ireland hurling qualifier on charges of stealing €32,000 from a client of a financial services firm.

Mr Gleeson of Shesharoe, Portroe, Co Tipperary, has pleaded not guilty to counts of stealing a total of €32,000 in 2013.

The Tipperary star was scheduled to face trial before Tipperary Circuit Criminal Court in Nenagh but the proceedings were adjourned following submissions from defence counsel, Johnny Walshe BL.

Mr Walshe told Judge Thomas Teehan that he was applying for the matter to be adjourned on a number of grounds after "a number of difficulties have arisen."

He pointed out that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has now instructed that the prosecution be led by a senior counsel.

Mr Walshe said that, to date, the free legal aid certificate for his client had only extended to a junior counsel.

He was now applying for that to be extended to a senior counsel.

Mr Walshe also raised concerns over material which had been published on the Internet in respect of the case last January.

He said that, as requested by the court, some material had been removed from the Internet.

However, other material remained accessible on the Internet including items on an Irish media site.

Mr Walshe applied for the case to be adjourned at least until October so that the material can be fully removed from the Internet and "a fade factor" can apply.

He confirmed that his solicitor has since written to the media group involved requesting that the material involved be removed from public access.

However, Justin Dillon SC, for the State, objected to such a lengthy adjournment.

He pointed out that, unlike printed newspaper articles, it was very difficult to ensure everything in respect of ongoing legal actions is removed from the Internet.

Mr Dillon stressed that, in this respect, he will be giving the jury very firm and clear instructions to disregard everything from outside sources including the Internet.

"I will be drilling into the jury not to have any regard for the Internet. They will be given very firm instructions," he said.

He said the State also has concerns over a lengthy adjournment to October or beyond in terms of an expert witness and the elderly complainant.

Judge Teehan adjourned the trial until June 27 and extended the legal aid certificate to cover a senior counsel.

However, he referred to a 1994 Supreme Court ruling in respect of a previous proceeding which was, he said, the focus of "one of the greatest media frenzies there has ever been."

That judgement allowed proceedings where very clear instructions are given to a jury in respect of media material.

He said the State has given a clear undertaking to give very firm instructions to the jury about disregarding everything in the media and on the Internet.

Judge Teehan also asked Mr Walshe to have his solicitor again contact the media group involved a second time and made it known that the trial judge would request the material involved to be removed from the Internet.

"I will not put it any further than that," he said.

He adjourned the matter until June 27 to allow a senior counsel to take instructions.

"The trial proceeds (then)," he said.

Mr Gleeson won an All-Ireland medal with Tipperary last September when he was a key member of the Premier County side that defeated Kilkenny.

The Portroe hurler boasts six Munster hurling titles and two All-Ireland medals.

He has won an All Star award and one National Hurling League winners medal.

The goalkeeper emerged as a star with the Tipperary U-21 side before graduating to the senior team and taking over goalkeeping duties from Brendan Cummins.

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