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Man plunges from new court balcony

SAFETY concerns have been raised about the new Courts of Criminal Justice complex after a man jumped off the spiral staircase in the building's central great hall and landed face down on the floor.

Emergency services were quickly on the scene, and the man, who is believed to be a foreign national, was taken to hospital.

The man, who is in his 30s, was walking up the central staircase at 3.45pm yesterday when he jumped over the side and landed flat out on the floor.

The incident occurred shortly before jurors, lawyers and members of the public left the trial of Eamonn Lillis.

Herald reporter Eimear Cotter said: "I was standing in the great hall talking on the phone when I saw a man jump over the side of the staircase. It was weird, because he was walking up the stairs, and then there was a thud and you could see him lying on the ground.

"The stairs curve up the centre of the building, and he must have jumped about seven or eight feet to the ground.

"Suddenly security staff and gardai were running from all directions towards the man, who lay flat out on the floor.

"He didn't move for quite some time, but the fire brigade and ambulance soon arrived and he was stretchered off."



Injuries

A court interpreter was called over by security staff to speak to the man, who was dressed in jeans and navy jumper.

The man is not believed to have suffered any injuries in the fall. Concerns have been expressed by those who work in the CCJ that similar incidents could occur in the future.

A spokesman for the Courts Service said he was aware that an incident had occurred and that gardai were currently investigating the matter.

The state-of-the-art building on Parkgate Street only opened last November, and houses the Court of Criminal Appeal, the Special Criminal Court, the Central Criminal Court as well as Circuit and District Criminal Courts.

The dedicated f140m facility means that all criminal matters in the capital, up to 250,000 cases a year, will be heard in one venue.

The 11-storey CCJ has 22 high-tech court rooms and can accommodate up to 100 prisoners in a series of underground holding cells.

jlast@herald.ie