Friday 6 December 2019

Jury in Ana Kriegel case told not to make up any theories about evidence

Ana Kriegel, whose body was found in a derelict house in Lucan
Ana Kriegel, whose body was found in a derelict house in Lucan

A judge told jurors in the trial of two boys for the murder of Ana Kriegel that they cannot speculate or guess or make up theories about the evidence.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott said the jury should only act on good, credible evidence.

The judge told jurors yesterday he expected to conclude his charge to them this morning.

The jury is then expected to begin its deliberations.

In his charge to them, Judge McDermott said they could rely on lies told by the teenagers as evidence of guilt, but only if the prosecution had established, beyond a reasonable doubt, that there was no other innocent explanation.

The two accused, who were both aged 13 at the time, have pleaded not guilty before the Central Criminal Court to murdering of 14-year-old Ana Kriegel at Glenwood House, Laraghcon, Clonee Road, in Lucan, on May 14, 2018.

Boy A has also denied a charge of aggravated sexual assault.


Yesterday, the judge outlined the legal definition of murder as well as aggravated sexual assault, and the legal meaning of intent.

He said the jury must consider very carefully the issue of Boy B's presence at the scene.

He said that mere presence was not participation in a crime, and presence, by itself, being a bystander, did not justify a conviction for murder.

The judge said that it was different if a person did something preparatory, or assisted. That was something quite different, he said, that was an act of participation.

If a person came across a shooting and did nothing, that's not a participant, but it was different if a person sourced a gun for the shooter, or drove the getaway car. 

The judge said the prosecution had to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Boy B knew what the other boy was going to do.

However, if there was any reasonable explanation, consistent with Boy B not having any knowledge, then the jury must acquit.

The judge also spoke about circumstantial evidence, saying it was circumstances or facts, none of which could separately lead to a conviction, but which taken together may create a conclusion of guilt, beyond a reasonable doubt.

He said there were a large number of pieces of circumstantial evidence, including forensic evidence, in this case, and the jury had to consider each of them, separately and as a whole, and assess their accumulated weight.

Judge McDermott said the jury must look at the circumstantial evidence as a whole, and in considering that evidence and in reaching a conclusion they must not speculate, or guess, or make up theories.

Judge McDermott asked the jurors to put on their "teenage glasses" and consider the interviews which gardai conducted with the accused through the eyes of a 13-year-old.

The judge also told the jury they, and they alone, were the judges of facts in this case.

Judge McDermott also spoke about lies, saying the prosecution case was that lies were told to cover up guilt and for no other reason.

However, the judge warned the jury that lies had been told in the past by accused people who were innocent.

He said people may lie because of shame or to conceal disgraceful behaviour. They may also lie out of panic, confusion or misjudgement. 

To rely on a lie, the judge said that prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that there was no innocent explanation for the lie. 

The judge then summarised the evidence for the jury.

The trial continues before a jury of eight men and four women.

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