The trial of a man accused of the murder of Kilkenny man Peter Donnelly in 2019 has collapsed.
It’s after one of the jurors believed they overheard Gardaí discussing witness statements in the courtroom.
At the start of this trial in the Central Criminal Court, 30-year old Damien Singleton of no fixed abode had pleaded not guilty to the murder of father-of-one Peter Donnelly on O’Connell Street in Dublin in June 2019 BUT had pleaded guilty to the charge of manslaughter.
However, before the trial got underway last Friday the foreman of the jury passed a note to Ms Justice Tara Burns raising issues on behalf of jurors who had difficulty in hearing the witnesses in the case.
The note also said that, “worryingly”, a juror said he believed he overheard partial conversations between gardaí about witness statements.
The jury was given a break for the note to be read to counsel for the prosecution and defence.
Ms Justice Burns expressed concerns about the seating allocations for jurors in the courtroom -Because of the size of the courtroom and covid guidelines half of the jury were in the jury box and the other half in the body of the courtroom.
When the jury was recalled, the eight men and four women were told “unfortunately” they would have to be discharged describing it as an extremely unsatisfactory situation for all concerned.
However, Ms Justice Burns said that in light of the concerns raised, that she, the prosecution and the defence all believed that it would be inappropriate for the jury to continue.
A new date to hear the case has been set for 15th November.