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Woman who attached 'unhealthy relationship' to Graham Dwyer trial was banned from court

It is believed that Graham Dwyer has received many letters from women in his 18 months at Cloverhill Prison.

Image: Niall Carson

THE JURY IN the Graham Dwyer trial had a tough job listening to nine weeks of evidence.

However, for good reason, the jury were not privy to all the court’s proceedings.

Under the law, while a trial is ongoing, nothing heard in court while the jury is absent can be reported.

From day one, following the explosive text messages being read out in court, it was clear this was going to be a trial like none other. However, other aspects, including some incidents which occurred in the jury’s absence, also made this a most unusual set of proceedings.

Public gallery 

On 20 January 2015, a woman standing in the public gallery was brought to the attention of the judge.

Justice Tony Hunt, presiding over the trial, said that he had been waiting for someone to raise the matter that the woman’s behaviour in court was inappropriate.

He said he had noticed her behaviour in the first half of the day. She had been seen smiling, seemingly entertained, through some segments of the proceedings.

The prosecution told the court that the woman had attached an “unhealthy relationship” to the trial.

Graham Dwyer case Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Justice Hunt asked the woman be removed from the court by gardaí and said she was banned from attending the court case from then on.

It is believed that while in custody at Cloverhill Prison for the past 18 months, Graham Dwyer has received many letters from women who have an interest in him.

The blog

On another occasion, in the absence of the jury, the matter of a .com blog was brought to the attention of the court. The court was told that the blog, which included YouTube clips and opinions, speculated on the innocence or guilt of Graham Dwyer.

The court was told it could be highly damaging to the case. The judge was told that it amounted to criminal contempt and breached court reporting rules.

A garda detective told the judge that as recent as that morning, comments were being made on the blog in relation to the trial. The judge was told that Google had put restrictions on the site, following instructions from the gardaí. The detective said that it was still accessible through the website and possibly YouTube.

The judge asked that the person responsible for the blog to come before the court. The gardaí located the man, a Dutch national, who claimed that he was a journalist.

The judge addressed him in court and stated that perhaps, as he is not of this jurisdiction, he was unaware of Irish law in respect to court reporting.

“What’s the problem here?” asked the man.

The man claimed it was a matter of freedom of speech. Judge Hunt said he had no interest as to what the laws were in the Netherlands, but said he was in the Irish jurisdiction now.

The man replied that he had studied the Irish Constitution and he didn’t think he had broken the law.

“It is forbidden to report any proceedings in the absence of the jury,” explained the judge. He then asked if he understood. The man said he was not sure that he did.

“Don’t play the innocent man with me,” said Justice Hunt, who said the man was capable in writing on his blog in the English language and he had no doubt he could understand him.

Court reporting 

The judge said he was not getting into an argument with the man on the law, but said that strict media guidelines were in place for a reason.

The judge said that he should remove the content from the site. The man would not make a decision.

“I’ll tell you what, wait here in the court until 2pm, meditate on the matter,” said the judge.

After lunch the man continued to question the judge. Justice Hunt said that perhaps he should consult his “fellow colleagues” on the law, referring to the media present in the court.

“Take it down and don’t do it again,” said Judge Hunt, adding, “I am trying to be fair to you”.

If you want to do business here, you have to follow the rules. I call the shots here.

He gave him until Monday to remove the content, otherwise other measures would be considered.

The man then asked Justice Hunt questions about the law. “No, get your own legal advice,” said the judge.

“I’m simply a civil servant in fancy dress,” said Justice Hunt.

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