Tuesday 12 December 2017

Trial of man accused of 'tiger' kidnap collapses

Jonathan Gill leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice yesterday Picture: Paddy Cummins/PCPhoto.ie
Jonathan Gill leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice yesterday Picture: Paddy Cummins/PCPhoto.ie

Andrew Phelan

The trial of a man accused of kidnapping a family during a €660,000 'tiger' robbery has collapsed over suspicions that the jury received information from outside.

The jury in the trial of Jonathan Gill was discharged after a judge heard it was suspected members had received information from others.

Judge Elma Sheahan made the decision after a note detailing the suspicions was handed in yesterday, on the sixth day of the jury's deliberations.

A defence lawyer said the trial had been "utterly and fatally compromised".

The jury had been considering a verdict for just over 14 hours. The accused was remanded on continuing bail to appear in court on April 28.

Mr Gill (35), of Malahide Road, Swords, Co Dublin, had denied falsely imprisoning postal worker Warren Nawn, his partner Jean Marie Matthews and their baby in Drogheda between August 1 and 2, 2011.

He also denied the robbery of €661,125 from An Post, West Street, Drogheda.

The prosecution had alleged Mr Gill was one of a group of five involved in holding the family hostage in their own home before moving them to a shed a 90-minute drive away.

Dean Kelly BL, defending, told Judge Sheahan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court he felt the jury should not proceed with deliberations.

Mr Kelly said a juror had written that he suspected others were "getting information from people outside the jury".

He felt jurors were using the information to form their decision and that was "so wrong".

He spoke about overhearing two strangers talking about the case on a tram.

Vincent Heneghan BL, prosecuting, suggested the judge ask the jury if it had been influenced, and let the members retire to consider the question.

However, Judge Sheahan said she could not allow the case to proceed when a matter of this seriousness had been raised.

Judge Sheahan said they were in "uncharted waters". Mr Heneghan then said it was not suggested in any way that the jury had been "got at".

"Information of the utmost gravity has come to the court's attention ... it is regrettable but inevitable that the case must come to an end," the judge then told the jurors.

Irish Independent

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