Jury resumes deliberation in Jobstown trial

Judge Melanie Greally has had to provide the jury with fresh direction following legal arguments yesterday

The judge in the trial of six men accused of falsely imprisoning Joan Burton has had to redirect the jury on a number of issues.

The jury began its deliberations on Monday but were not needed yesterday because the court had to deal with some legal arguments.

They will also have to decide whether the accused, which includes Solidarity TD Paul Murphy, falsely imprisoned the former Tánaiste’s adviser.

In her address to the jurors on Monday morning, Judge Melanie Greally asked the seven men and four women to be fearless in their deliberations.

She spent three hours summing up the evidence and going through the relevant legal principles before asking them to retire to their jury room.

They deliberated for just under an hour and were not required yesterday because the court had to deal with some issues in their absence.

When they returned to court today, Judge Greally told them some matters would have to be revisited before they could resume their deliberations.

She told them not to draw any adverse inference from the fact that none of the accused gave evidence during the trial. That is their right, she said.

She pointed out that while the defences put forward are broadly the same, some of them have distinct elements.

In addition to denying that there was a total restraint of the liberty of Joan Burton and her adviser, she said Paul Murphy also maintains he took positive steps to end the restraint and openly disagreed with those who wanted it to continue.

She said the same argument was put forward by another accused – Solidarity Councillor for South County Dublin Michael Murphy.

She reminded them that the video footage shown to the jury is the primary and most reliable account of what happened because it is not subject to the frailties of human memory.

The prosecution claims they were effectively trapped in two Garda vehicles when a water charge protest turned violent while the then Tánaiste was attending a graduation ceremony in Jobstown in Dublin in Nov 2014.

Each of the accused deny the charges and insist the protest was peaceful and that they cannot be held accountable for the acts of others who may have acted violently.

The jurors have now resumed their deliberations and will have to decide whether there was a total restraint of the women’s liberty i.e. no reasonable means of escape and whether there was an intention to detain them in such a way.