Jury panellist becomes the accused

A jury panellist at Cork Circuit Criminal Court talked himself into becoming an accused person yesterday.

The jury panel had been told the case could take up to three weeks. A number of people asked to be excused as they were about to be sworn in to hear the case — some stating that they knew a witness in the case.

When the turn came for the panellist to be sworn in, he also asked to be excused — saying that he knew someone in the case.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin asked who in particular in the case he knew.

At that point, the panellist began to mumble that he did not know anyone in the case but he was very busy in work and it would be difficult for him to commit to three weeks.

The judge asked the panellist to wait in Courtroom 2 for the morning while the business of the day was carried out. As the court was about to rise for lunch, the judge directed the panellist to come forward.

He told him he had been caught out and was in contempt of court by saying he knew someone in the case when he did not.

“If you were left get away with it, it would render the gathering of a jury much more difficult,” Judge Ó Donnabháin said.

He told him he could get a solicitor to represent him and return to court today if he wanted to address the court on the matter.

Judge Ó Donnabháin said what he had in mind was fining him €100 for being in contempt of court. He said that if the panellist chose not to attend court with a solicitor he would be fined €100 in his absence.


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