ONE of the country’s top criminal judges has intervened to help a Limerick man whose car was clamped while he was on jury duty.
During a trial at the Central Criminal Court at the County Courthouse in Merchant’s Quay, Limerick, last week, one of the jury members returned to his car in the adjoining Potato Market to discover it had been clamped.
He had to pay €120 to the clamping company engaged by the Limerick Market Trustees who administer the Potato Market.
On learning of the juryman’s plight, the country’s most senior criminal judge, Mr Justice Paul Carney, commiserated with the juryman on his financial loss.
Mr Justice Carney also announced in open court that he would have his court personnel take the matter up with the court service.
A spokesman for the court service yesterday said they do not pay transport costs to people serving on juries and this includes matters such as parking fines.
However, on learning that a jury member had been clamped, a member of the Limerick Market Trustees last night moved to compensate the juryman for his financial loss.
Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon said he had become aware of Mr Justice Carney’s comments in court.
Mr O’Hanlon said: “This is ridiculous. Somebody who gives a hugely important service to the community through duty on a jury is penalised in this way when his car is in effect parked in a public place owned by the people.
“People who serve on juries are very inconvenienced and have to get time off work, and when they are self-employed, they have to leave their own businesses.
“Aside from the inconvenience, jury service can be very stressful. And for a person to sit in court for days during a trial to come out and find that his car has been clamped because he has had to remain in court in the public interest, is not acceptable.”
Mr O’Hanlon said he intends to raise the matter at the next meeting of the Market Trustees and will endeavour to get the trustees to agree to a payment of €120 to the juryman and have the court service forward the money to the jury member’s address.
He said the court service should enter an arrangement to get vouchers to enable jury members to have open parking in the Potato Market when they are involved in criminal trials at Limerick court.
“It would not stretch the imagination for some arrangement to be drawn up between the court service and the Market Trustees,” he said.
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