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Stab man appeals as jury 'took break for a smoke'

A "smoke break" taken by a jury during their deliberations in the trial of a man accused of stabbing a woman in the face with a key raises concerns about the safety of his conviction, the Court of Criminal Appeal heard.

Lawyers for Gary Hanley (21) yesterday told the appeal court that an "unfortunate situation" arose at the end of their client's trial, where "a number of jury members" were "out smoking".

They said that such an incidence would have resulted in the jury being "separated" during deliberations.

In May, 2009, Mr Hanley, of North Great Clarence Street in Dublin, was convicted of assaulting the woman causing her harm and for threatening to kill or cause her serious injury at Clontarf in Dublin on March 15, 2007.

The State opposed Hanley's appeal. Yesterday, Mr Justice Nial Fennelly adjourned giving judgement until a later date.