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Gardaí investigating whether jury were secretly recorded during recent criminal trial

A 36-year-old man denies having taken any videos or photos of proceedings.

Image: Laura Hutton via RollingNews.ie

GARDAÍ ARE INVESTIGATING whether members of a jury were secretly recorded during a recent criminal trial in Dublin. 

A 36-year-old man, who had no involvement in the trial but who had previously shared a prison cell with the accused, denies having taken any videos or photos of proceedings. Gardaí seized his phone but cannot check the last recording or image without the phone’s PIN code, which the suspect refused to provide.  

The man was on bail for a separate offence when he is said to have attended the trial of his former cell-mate. He cannot be named at this point for legal reasons. 

Lawyers for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) sought to revoke the man’s bail today. However, Judge Melanie Greally said it was “premature” to do so at this stage as the “strength or otherwise” of the evidence was yet to be determined. 

She added that she would be monitoring the matter closely. She told him it was “unwise” to come to court for someone else’s trial during the pandemic and to have “possibly engaged in something that would be absolutely impermissible”.  

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard today that during the recent trial a member of court staff became suspicious that photos and videos were being taken in court.

A Garda gave evidence that he was a witness in the other trial when it was brought to his attention that somebody may have been recording proceedings on his phone. 

The Garda told Aideen Collard BL, for the DPP, that the man was arrested on suspicion of having intimidated jurors and witnesses and was brought to the Bridewell Garda Sstation.

The suspect admitted knowing the man on trial, having shared a prison cell with him previously, but denied recording anything on his phone. He was asked to open his phone to show gardaí the last recording or image but refused to do so and declined to provide gardaí with security codes to access his phone, which has been seized, the witness stated. 

Garda David L’Estrange told the court that he was unable to open the phone to confirm whether any photos or videos had been taken. 

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Under cross examination from defence counsel Marc Thompson BL, the Garda said he was unaware that an application to have the suspect held in contempt of court was refused at the time. 

The Garda also told Thompson that he was unaware of the outcome of the trial and whether the alleged recording of any of the proceedings affected the outcome.  

The court heard the investigation is ongoing.

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Ruaidhrí Giblin

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