‘The Defence Team Then Played The Segment For The Court’



From top: Prime Time logo; tweet from last night; Barrister Paul Anthony McDermott

before the jury was brought into court, Mr Grehan raised a segment from last night’s Prime Time programme with the judge.

He explained that, following a report on the recent Kerry murder trial, there was a general discussion about the law of provocation between the presenter and a well-known senior counsel, lecturer, author and media commentator.

The defence team then played the segment for the court on the RTE Player.

“I’m not saying there can never be media, academic or legal discussion in relation to a defence or its merits,” said Mr Grehan afterwards.

But we are, in this trial, at a particularly sensitive time where a jury is deliberating.”

Murder trial collapses after jurors reveal they watched Prime Time programme last night (Irish Examiner)

Last week: During Deliberations


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12 thoughts on “‘The Defence Team Then Played The Segment For The Court’

  1. Eoin

    “This is a tragedy, but maybe eventually someone will take note and take care before they issue wanton utterances on issues of sensitivity” said the Judge.

    The prosecuting barrister “also said that he did not know whether any enquiry was made by the national broadcaster as to whether any relevant trials were ongoing.”

    Well done RTE! “Bona fide” journalists. Your journalism was the sole cause of the collapse of this man’s trial which had a 10-day hearing. Probably cost the State €100,000+.

    1. rotide

      I’m not too sure you can fully blame RTE for this. Should they have checked to see if the defence they were talking about was being used in a case somewhere in Ireland? Maybe, but I have no idea whats actually involved in that. Presumably it was run past the lawyers as everything is.

      Seems to highlight a particular problem with surpreme court justices and the provocation defence.

    1. Cian

      oops, my bad. I thought McDermott was both the defence barrister AND on TV – he wasn’t involved in the case.

      1. Frank Lee O’Bese

        He writes for Murdoch ‘s Sunday Times in Ireland. Be interesting to see if this is addressed in this week’s edition.

  2. b

    just unlucky all round. how was he to know there was a case going on, and that jurors were watching. By that rational, you’d be unable to discuss any legal issue in the media

    Paul McDermott is a top bloke btw, lectured me in college back in the day and was great with students

  3. Conall

    Agree. Throughout his career Paul has provided a great service in terms of making law more open and accessible to everyone.

    Curtailing discussion of legal issues which might arise in ongoing cases (as opposed to the facts of a specific ongoing case) is worrying. How do people discussing law even know the particular case is ongoing?

    The need for freedom of expression and debate is something which should not be forgotten.

    Why was the jury not forbidden to watch media or use online media during the trial anyway?

    Clear guidelines need to be laid down about warning juries and also about what can and can’t be discussed.

  4. Frank Lee O’Bese

    He writes for Murdoch ‘s Sunday Times in Ireland. Be interesting to see if this is addressed in this week’s edition.

  5. Owen C

    Lets imagine there’s a situation where there are a lot of provocation-related cases ongoing in the courts over a sustained period of time (a situation that is actually not that unlikely with consent-based issues coming up in rape cases). Can we therefore never discuss more generally these issues in the media? Seems bizarre.

  6. Robert

    When I was a juror we were told to abstain from any media that might relate to the case. How is this any different?

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