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Drugs trial jury discharged

A JUDGE has discharged the jury in the trial of a former Leeds United goalkeeper charged following the seizure of more than €3.4m worth of cannabis resin.

Eddie van Boxtel (41) of Sillogue Avenue, Ballymun, had pleaded not guilty before Naas Circuit Court to possession of cannabis resin as well as having the drug for sale or supply at a lay-by near Kill, Co Kildare on February 6, 2008. The alleged street value of the cannabis resin is €3.45m.

Following an application by defence counsel Mr Michael O'Higgins SC, Judge Gerard Griffin told the jury yesterday that he had no alternative but to discharge them of their duties.

Stars in step for Strictly tour

The Saturdays star Frankie Bridge and rugby hunk Thom Evans have become the first celebrities to sign up for the next Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour - to be hosted by Zoe Ball.

Singer Bridge tops the Strictly leader board, while Evans got the boot in week five. More celebrities will be announced for the tour, which starts in January next year.

Favourite dies after Oz race

A victory by German stallion Protectionist in the Melbourne Cup was overshadowed by the deaths of two horses, including the favourite Admire Rakti, after Australia's richest horse race.

Admire Rakti collapsed and died shortly after returning to the stall.

In another post-race incident, seventh-place Araldo broke its leg on the way back to the stalls and had to be euthanised.

Spy chief blasts social media

The new head of Britain's electronic eavesdropping agency says US-based social media sites have become "command-and-control networks" for terrorists.

GCHQ chief Robert Hannigan said British intelligence agencies know that Isis extremists use messaging services like Facebook, Twitter to reach their peers with ease. He said spy agencies need to have greater support from the US technology companies in order to fight those who post material about violent extremism and child exploitation.