Jury in sex-assault case discharged

A jury has been discharged in a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court sex assault trial because one of its members has six previous convictions and six outstanding bench warrants.

A jury has been discharged in a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court sex assault trial because one of its members has six previous convictions and six outstanding bench warrants.

Garda Andrew Lamb sent an email to the court registrar's office alerting Judge Patrick McCartan of the juror's arrest on one of the bench warrants after the trial had opened.

Prosecution counsel, Ms Anne Marie Lawlor BL, opened the trial on Monday and told the jury it would hear video-link evidence of how a Limerick man had sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl on dates between September 2005 and July 2006.

Garda Lamb was summoned to court and told Ms Lawlor that the juror had produced documents to show he was on jury duty when his colleague arrested him the night before.

He said the juror has one previous conviction for possessing drugs and received a four-month sentence in 2007 for theft.

Garda Lamb said Cloverhill Prison remanded the juror from May 14 to 17, 2007 on this theft charge but that there were no Mountjoy Prison records of him serving the four month sentence.

He added that there were a number of charges pending in the courts, including another for theft.

The juror claimed he never served a prison sentence when Judge McCartan summoned the jury back to court, adding that he was aware of the criteria disqualifying people from jury service.

Judge McCartan told him: "I've come to the conclusion that it would not be fair and proper for you to serve on a jury."

He discharged the remaining jurors, thanking them for their service and adding that such a "peculiar twist" happens "occasionally".

He described the juror's revelation as "entirely unfortunate" and put the case back to fix another trial date.

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