Wednesday 13 December 2017

Political notebook: Judges, Jobstown, lawyers and the media - we reap what we sow

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Maxwells
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Maxwells
Jody Corcoran

Jody Corcoran

The most interesting comment in the Jobstown trial came from Judge Melanie Greally who told the jury they had shown "extreme bravery and courage" in taking on the case. Why so? Such a comment, one imagines, would usually be reserved for a jury, should there be a jury, in a ­terrorism or serious organised crime case. Indeed, that was why the Special Criminal Court was established and is continued, not only in view of the continuing threat to State security posed by instances of violence, but also of the particular threat to the administration of justice, including jury intimidation.

So what was Judge Greally referring to? I am not suggesting that those on trial in the Jobstown case would intimidate the jury or even countenance such intimidation were it to occur. But that a judge should feel obliged to commend the "bravery and courage" of the jury surely raises uncomfortable questions about the administration of justice.

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