by David Raleigh
THE trial of a Limerick man accused of threatening a pregnant woman and stabbing a man after forcing his way into a house collapsed yesterday after the jury was discharged just as the case got underway.
The jury of nine women and two men were discharged by Limerick Circuit Court judge Tom O’Donnell.
The accused is charged with one count of aggravated burglary and one count of assault causing harm to a male.
Both offenses are alleged to have occurred at a house in Limerick in 2016.
After the jury took their seats in the court to hear the first witness in the case, the jury foreperson raised an issue with the court.
The foreperson handed judge O’Donnell a note, telling him: “Some matter came up during lunch that I think you need to have your eyes on”.
The judge and senior counsels for the prosecution and defence considered the matter during legal argument and it was agreed by all parties that the jury should be discharged.
Judge O’Donnell told the jury he was “very grateful” it had brought the issue to the court’s attention.
He told the jury that he and counsels for the prosecution and defence had discussed the contents of the note and that in light of this he was “going to have to discharge you and this trial will not proceed”.
He thanked the jury for their attendance and told them they were “free to go”.
Senior Counsel for the State, John O’Sullivan, made an application banning the media from reporting the reason the court discharged the jury.
Judge O’Donnell granted the application, directing that there be “no publication on the reasons why the jury were discharged”.
The case was adjourned to a call-over list to fix a date for trial.