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13.54 10 Oct 2020


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Eight men are scheduled to go on trial in Croke Park next year, accused of assault and violent disorder.

The criminal trial is set to take place in the stadium on January 25th.

The venue will allow for social distancing as trials with a large number of defendants cannot take place in the Criminal Courts of Justice due to COVID-19 regulations.

However, The Herald reports that the GAA has no agreement to allow the Courts to use Croke Park yet.

It is alleged that the men committed the offences in Dublin in February 2015.

Solicitor Keith Walsh says the move makes sense because of the sheer number of people involved.

He said that each defendant would have "at least one barrister, if not two" and "at least one solicitor".

He added: "The legal teams alone would be between 16 and 24.

"You then have 12 jurors and they wouldn't sit beside each other so that's another 12 people separated by two metres."

There could also be friends and family of the defendants in attendance, as well as journalists, adding to the numbers in court.

Mr Walsh said: "It's really important that justice is seen to be administered in public, it's a constitutional right and it's essential especially during COVID.

"It's clear the Criminal Courts of Justice aren't big enough, the courts are too small.

"I think it's a hugely positive thing that alternative venues are being considered and that justice can be done."

He said that holding trials in the conference centre in Croke Park is "far preferable to remote hearings" and is a welcome initiative.

Main image: A general view of Croke Park stadium. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

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