herald

Thursday 25 May 2017

An open and shut eye case as juror falls asleep at trial

A juror was caught sleeping at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
A juror was caught sleeping at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

The jury in a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court trial has been discharged after a juror fell asleep 15 minutes into the opening of the trial.

Garrett Baker, prosecuting, was giving his opening address in the trial of Dean Joyce yesterday, when it was noticed that one of the male jurors was in fact asleep.

Mr Baker was about 15 minutes into his address and was explaining the concept of "beyond reasonable doubt" when the sleeping juror was discovered.

Struggling

The opening address came to a halt as a jury minder approached the juror and woke him up.

After a short adjournment, defence barrister Pieter Le Vert told Judge Elma Sheahan that another male juror had also appeared to be on the verge of falling asleep during Mr Baker's opening address for the prosecution.

"It would seem two jurors were struggling," Mr Le Vert said.

Mr Baker joked that it was a "new low" for opening addresses.

The court heard it may not be legally possible to replace the two jurors, as the trial had already begun.

As a result, the judge ruled that she should discharge the entire jury.

"In a most unusual turn of events, I'm going to thank you for your service and discharge you," she said.

Endangering

Mr Joyce (24) with an address in Rowlagh Park, Clondalkin, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges, including endangering gardai by driving his car into a garda van, four counts of dangerous driving, and possession of stolen property in Ballyfermot and Clondalkin on March 3, 2015.

He has also pleaded not guilty to driving without a licence, driving without insurance, possession of a boxcutter that was used in a burglary, criminal damage of a garda van and failing to stop for gardai on the same date.

A new jury was due to be sworn in today.

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