Jury reaches no verdict in case alleging urine sample was tampered with

A jury yesterday failed to reach a verdict in the case of a post office manager accused of perverting the course of justice.

Kevin Rogers, aged 50, of Mote Park, Roscommon, had denied carrying out an act tending to pervert the course of public justice by interfering with or tampering with potential evidence in a drink-driving probe.

The trial at Roscommon Circuit Criminal Court heard a urine sample had been taken from Michael Lyons, a post officer worker and close friend of Mr Rogers, arising from a traffic accident on Mar 3, 2012.

Evidence was heard from postman Mark Miley in which he said Mr Rogers put a box in his jacket at Roscommon Post Office on Mar 5, 2012, with instructions to say nothing to anybody and to “deny all”.

The box, which was part of registered mail, was hot and had a bad smell from it, said Mr Miley had said.

Officials at the Medical Bureau of Road Safety in Dublin told the court that the box containing a sample had been interfered with, and there was no urine in the sample bottle. It appeared to have been subjected to heat and pressure and analysis was not possible.

A forensic scientist gave evidence that tests carried out on a urine sample kit used by gardaí very strongly supported the view that the urine sample had been microwaved.

Mr Rogers’ counsel, Martin Giblin, had argued that the evidence did not come up to the standard required and the science was “problematic”.

After deliberating for more than eight hours, the jury returned yesterday afternoon to advise Judge Tony Hunt that they could not get an adequate number to reach a verdict. All jurors held this view, the judge was told.

Judge Hunt thanked them for their deliberations and told them not to regard their failure to reach a verdict as “a bad thing”. They had put enormous interest and effort into considering the case.

He exempted them from jury service for periods ranging from six to 10 years.

He remanded Mr Rogers on continuing bail. The case will be for mention at the March sittings of the court.

The DPP will now have to decide if she wishes to proceed with a retrial of the case.

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