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Facebook is new threat to trials – judge

A SENIOR judge has warned that the court system was now being plagued by social media.

JUDGE Sean O Donnabhain warned a Circuit Criminal Court jury to stay off the internet and away from social media sites at the opening of an indecent assault trial.

"We are being plagued by social media. If it was Facebook (that tries the case), I would swear in Facebook," he said.

"You make the decision here, not Facebook. So please stay away from the internet."


The judge's direction to the jury of seven women and five men came as the case opened against former Christian Brother, Edward Bryan (58).

Bryan of Athboy Road, Trim, Co Meath denies indecently assaulting four boys at the North Monastery secondary school in Cork in the late 1980s.

He has denied a total of 10 counts which relate to various dates between 1987 and 1990.

All the complainants were in their teens in the Cork school at the time. Bryan taught at the school for a total of 13 years and was briefly the principal.

He was heavily involved in basketball coaching at the school throughout his time there.

The allegations involve a total of four teens, now all adults, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

The trial heard that the allegations involve the boys first being instructed to take their clothes off as part of special coaching sessions. They were then alleged to have been indecently assaulted.

The incidents all occurred during one-to-one coaching sessions for the basketball team, where the teens were asked to remove their clothing for massages or weight-training.

All the alleged incidents occurred when the individual boys were alone with the defendant. They occurred in various locations in the school.

The trial, which continues today, is expected to last a week.