Allegations of jury interference were made at the end of the trial of a man who admits assaulting his ex-partner in her home.
Ian Doyle (31) of Cashel Avenue, Crumlin, Dublin was on trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court accused of assault causing harm to Lisa Byrne by causing injury to her head on November 3rd, 2011. He was also charged with a second charge of assault causing harm to her neck.
He had pleaded not guilty to both counts. The trial began on Wednesday and a jury heard evidence from a neighbour who described going to the woman’s apartment after hearing screaming and shouting coming from the victim’s flat.
This woman said she called 999 and took Doyle’s then partner from her home and then noticed a big cut on the back of her head and blood on her dressing gown. The witness said the defendant then came around to her front door and was banging on the windows of her home with a metal object.
An issue arose on the second day of the trial when a jury member said that she recognised someone in the courtroom from around the area. She told Judge Pauline Codd she didn’t know this man personally and was happy to continue sitting on the jury.
In the absence of the jury, Brian Storan BL, prosecuting, told the court that gardaí were unable to find the injured party and that there was a bench warrant out for her arrest. A trial collapsed last month when the victim went to ground.
During a subsequent application for bail last month, Mr Storan told the court that the complainant had gone missing after she told gardai she was feeling “intimidated and afraid”.
He said gardaí were objecting to bail and told the court there was CCTV evidence from outside the court building which allegedly shows the victim being interfered with by associates of Doyle.
On Thursday afternoon, a new indictment was entered and Doyle entered guilty pleas to two charges of assaulting Ms Byrne. The charge of assault is a more minor offence to assault causing harm.
After jurors were discharged the jury minder returned to court to tell Judge Codd that the juror who had earlier recognised a person in court “was upset” and alleged that the accused was looking at an associate in court and pointing at the juror.
Mr Storan told the court that his instructing solicitor separately was preparing a statement alleging that she had overheard a conversation setting out concerns about “jury interference” and “indirect plans to intimidate witnesses”.
Judge Codd said the court had no jurisdiction over the jury anymore as the trial was concluded. She said the former juror should be advised that she could go to gardai to make a statement of complaint if she wished.
David Perry BL, defending, told Judge Codd that his client’s position was that he had been taking his jacket off in court and not pointing at the juror as she believed.
Mr Storan told the court that it had jurisdiction with respect to contempt of court. Judge Codd remanded Doyle in continuing custody for sentence next Tuesday.