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Future of murder trial uncertain after jurors say they 'cannot attend'

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Murder accused Rafal Karaczyn

Murder accused Rafal Karaczyn

Murder accused Rafal Karaczyn

The jury in the trial of a man accused of murdering his wife has been discharged after three jurors contacted the court to indicate they were not in a position to attend.

Ms Justice Eileen Creedon said one of the three jurors will probably never be in a position to attend the trial, while the availability of the other two jurors is "unknown" and would not be clear for at least a week.

The 12-juror panel was scheduled to hear closing speeches from the defence and the prosecution in Rafal Karaczyn's murder trial, after the speeches were rescheduled last Thursday.

Rafal Karaczyn (34) of Crozon Park, Sligo, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of his 30-year-old wife Natalia Karaczyn, at their family home in Crozon Park between April 29, 2018 and May 1, 2018.

Yesterday morning Judge Creedon told the Central Criminal Court that the trial did not have a full complement of 12 jurors as three had contacted the court to say they could not attend today.

She said she was conscious of the privacy of the three jurors and did not want any "unnecessary reporting" as to the reasons they couldn't attend.

However, she added that one of the jurors "will probably never be in a position to attend" while the position of the other two is "unknown" and would not be known for at least a week.

Bernard Condon SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, told Judge Creedon that his instructions were to ask that the jury be discharged and for the case to return to the list.

He said "nobody knows" when the trial could resume and it would be "unfair" on the jury to be expected to "reassemble" at some unknown point in the future.

Michael Bowman SC, for the accused, said it was a "matter for the court", adding that it was "unsatisfactory" but "nothing could be done" and he was leaving it in "the court's hands".

In turn, Judge Creedon said everybody was conscious that the trial had "nearly concluded".

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Natalia Karaczyn

Natalia Karaczyn

Natalia Karaczyn

She added that in the interest of the "fair trial rights of the accused", while acknowledging that things are "entirely uncertain at this stage, given the seriousness of the situation", she would accede to the application for the jury to be discharged and put the case back for mention.

Discharged

The judge then asked the jury minder to tell the nine jurors, who didn't appear in the court, that they were discharged and would have no more dealings with the trial. She also asked the minder to thank them and to apologise to them.

Mr Karaczyn was then remanded in custody with consent to bail, under the same terms and conditions, until March 30.