Careless driving causing death trial collapses following discharge of jury

A trial has collapsed at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court after the jury was discharged by the trial judge.

Judge Thomas O’Donnell discharged the jury after it was brought to the court’s attention a memo had been included among the prosecution exhibits that should not have been.

The jury had been an hour into their deliberations in the trial of Sarah O’Connell of Seán Moylan Park, Mallow, who denies careless driving causing the death of Caitlin Tayor at Knockeenahone, Scartaglin on June 15th, 2014.

The jury had been just over an hour into its deliberations when it sought clarity on the difference between careless driving and a momentary lapse of attention.

Before it was sent back to resume its deliberations, the foreman brought it to the attention of the judge that they had been given a document, part of which was scribbled out.

Judge O’Donnell made his decision to discharge them, following an application by defence counsel, Mark Nicholas.

He said from time to time, there was agreement between the parties about what goes in and what didn’t and, unfortunately, they had got the original of a document they shouldn’t have received.

He said he was sorry about what had happened but there was nothing could be done about it.

The judge thanked the jury for their attendance and attentiveness, which he said had been evidenced by their earlier question. He excused them from further jury service for five years.

Judge O’Donnell put the matter back to the January 15th sitting of the court.