Garda probe as court shot posted on Facebook

Gardaí in Tralee, Co Kerry, are investigating a photograph posted on a social media site that was taken as an accused person left the dock during a sentencing hearing in a Tralee courtroom two weeks ago.

The photograph, posted on a Facebook page, shows the 20-year-old accused man, who was given a suspended sentence for an attack on an older cousin, walking past the press bench as he stepped from the dock at the end of his hearing.

A solicitor for the man yesterday said his client was taking a very serious view of the matter and said “the sanctity of the courtroom ” had been breached.

A clear picture of key courtroom personnel, including presiding Circuit Court judge Carroll Moran on the bench, as well as prosecutor Tom Rice, along with the court stenographer in charge of the digital audio recording system, and another barrister, Aoife Lynch, emerges.

A copy of the Facebook page has been forwarded to gardaí who are investigating a possible contempt of court charge. The photograph appears to have been taken from the public area in Tralee Circuit Court.

Alex Doherty, now 20, of Old Castle Park Crescent, Clondalkin, Dublin, was handed down a two-year suspended sentence for assault causing harm to his then-Tralee- based cousin, Hugh O’Driscoll, 35. Doherty had pleaded guilty.

Solicitor for Alex Doherty, Padraig O’Connell, yesterday said the matter had been brought to his attention: “My client is concerned about his breach of privacy in the sanctity of a courtroom setting and is urging investigation.”

According to senior legal sources, a complaint could be made to the judge when such a recording is made and that person could be held in contempt of court.


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