Adams seriously suggests that Jurors could be put into a protection programme…

Interesting outworking of the Slab Murphy controversy. Sinn Fein’s position has been to suggest getting rid of the Republic’s Special Criminal Court (the juryless court which was responsible for convicting Murphy in a civil case). The new techniques which Mary Lou McDonald hinted at over the weekend appear to be putting jurors on what amounts to a witness protection programme

“States throughout the world protect and value the basic right to a jury trial,” he said.

“Juries must of course be protected in carrying out their work and this can be achieved in a number of ways including having an anonymous jury, screening the jury from public view, protecting the jury during the trial, or locating the jury in a different place from where the trial is being held with communication by video link.

“Many states hear difficult cases without removing the right to a jury trial.”

In purist terms, most human rights lobby groups would uphold the principle of the right to a jury trial. And it may be true that the state which has such a provision may be tempted to use it more liberally than is strictly necessary.

Using a judge only court to prosecute a civil case may tell its own sorry story both about how flexible the provisions of the Special Criminal Court can be and, no doubt, the persistent perils attendant in challenging unofficial ‘community’ power wherever it exists.

But as one commentator on the Claire Byrne Saturday show on RTE Radio One put it, who really wants to be compelled to act as juror in any case against members of an organised crime syndicate of the type behind the Regency Hotel shooting at the weekend?

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  • Ciaran Goggins

    Trial without jury? Not exactly redolent of a functioning democracy.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    ‘Jurors in protection’
    A sensible policy for a better Ireland !!
    But I’m sure some cynical person might think the chuckies were just trying to make it harder to convict their criminal friends. Much easier to intimidate jurors than a judge. As for me, I would never think that.

  • mickfealty

    Nope, quite correct Ciaran. I thought this post hadn’t taken and in my second draft I put in some links to the UN Human Rights Committee’s remarks: http://goo.gl/pvDKqV and the ICCL: http://goo.gl/fFRQmm.

  • Ciaran Goggins

    Thatcher said the 6 counties were as “British as Finchley”, it seems she was correct, jury less trials now available in England.

  • Gingray

    Interesting to see the CIRA “claiming” the weekend murder in Dublin.

  • Robin Keogh

    So good you said it twice 😉

  • chrisjones2

    “States throughout the world protect and value the basic right to a jury trial,”

    Not true actually. In the UK it has been a fetish but other states eg Germany often run major criminal trials without juries and with a 3 Judge Panel. Sound familiar? And ECHR has repeatedly said that this is a matter for member states so long as the trial is fair.

    Aside his floundering responses to impudent follow up questions from incredulous journalists when he effectively denied there was a gang problem in Ireland, Gerry then nearly lost the plot in his answers which verged on abuse

    This is all Gerry waffle with no policy or thought and simply designed to protect the Party’s Old Comrades who are now engaged in various private enterprise activities that might put them in need of a lawyer or two or at risk of an appearance in the SCC. I mean how dare the police and prosecutors even consider this when they are all strong ‘supporters of the Peace Process (TM) ” and Good Republicans (TM)”

    SFs new commitment to international standards of justice may also seem somewhat odd to the victims of abuse by PIRA and SF members who were denied access to courts to see justice delivered. Then there are the families of all those murdered after kangaroo courts, the children shot out of hand in West Belfast for ‘anti-social activities’ – remember them them Gerry? And Paul Quinn and Kevin McGuigan? Who sat on the Juries there Gerry?

    Still on the positive side at least it took away from the reporting of the Booby Sands cock up in Dublin. The gap between SF in Ireland and the old guard in de Nurth grows ever wider

  • chrisjones2

    Almost all trials do proceed without a jury in all jurisdictions.

  • Neil

    But as one commentator on the Claire Byrne Saturday show on RTE Radio One put it, who really wants to be compelled to act as juror in any case against members of an organised crime syndicate of the type behind the Regency Hotel shooting at the weekend?

    Who really wants to be compelled as a juror in any case, full stop? It’s really not complicated, SF is far from alone in wanting to do away with the SCC, pretty much all human rights and civil liberties groups and the UN are on the same page.

    Serious crimes happen everywhere, other countries can manage jury trials for serious crime. Is Mick seriously suggesting that Ireland is so different that it would be impossible to have jury trials for crimes such as the hotel shooting? Adam’s suggestion is one, the remaining suggestions are perfectly doable too:

    – having an anonymous jury
    – screening the jury from public view
    – protecting the jury during the trial
    – or locating the jury in a different place from where the trial is being held with communication by video link.

    But let’s not pretend this is Adams going off on one like a madman, it’s him expressing the view held by the UN, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and many others. The fools, mustn’t realise that the IRA have everyone’s photo, name and address filed away back at HQ so they can track down 12 random people living in a city of half a million people.

  • Ciaran Goggins

    Statistically correct C.J, but I am sure you will concur that there is a dichotomy between 6 months from a magistrate from stealing cars and 20 years for “terrorism”. Would love to know how and why CIRA are doing the gardai’s job for them, taking out drug dealers.

  • Reader

    I’m not sure that it’s the gardai’s job – “taking out” drug dealers. Aren’t they meant to be investigating, gathering evidence and arresting them instead?
    Mind you, if the gardai went to “take out” the CIRA, would that upset you or please you?

  • kensei

    Seriously, if only people suggesting removing jury trials were treated in as derisory a manner as those suggesting methods to retain them…

  • chrisjones2

    and republicans favour those involved in organised crime …..same as it ever was

  • chrisjones2

    Its very clear ….he doesn’t know what he is talking about and has made a major mistake the week after the royal court attack

  • chrisjones2

    Strange …in de Nurth Republicans have lectured us for years about human rights but murdering alleged drug dealers now seems ok

  • Brendan Heading

    Serious crimes happen everywhere, other countries can manage jury trials for serious crime

    Actually most countries don’t implement jury trials for a large proportion of major cases.

    There are a lot of problems with jury trials, the most serious one being that the likelihood of getting a fair trial is lower. Would Gerry Adams, for example, get a fair trial from his peers if he stood accused of IRA membership ?

  • Brendan Heading

    France and Germany are perfectly functioning democracies.

  • Brendan Heading

    What I’d love to know how you can go in one breath to demanding jury trials and in practically the next laud a proscribed organisation for implementing a death sentence without any kind of trial at all.

  • Ciaran Goggins

    Who proscribed them? The rich.

  • Ciaran Goggins

    When CIRA begin perjuring I’ll start to get upset.

  • Brendan Heading

    Given that you’re a person who describe a terrorist organisation performing summary execution without any kind of hearing as “doing the Garda’s work for them” I think it’s safe to say we don’t need to take any of your opinions at all seriously.

  • Ciaran Goggins

    I am not French, nor German. List of nations jailing bloggers and tweeters – Bahrain, Cuba, Eritrea, Gabon, Iran, North Korea, Uzbekistan and Britain.

  • Brendan Heading

    Nobody said you were French or German.

    I’m fascinated by your list of countries that jail bloggers and tweeters (interestingly at least one country on the list is linked with the Official IRA, and Sinn Féin may be heard from time to time extolling the benefits of Cuba) but I’m not sure what it has to do with the argument.

  • chrisjones2

    18 months in the UK but in Germany most serious trials are jury free

  • chrisjones2

    So have they stopped all the oul robberies and drug dealing then?

  • chrisjones2

    Indeed …and didn’t a senior member of SF some months back refer to a past occasion where a newspaper’s offices were wrecked at gunpoint by the IRA

    But of course that was just a joke. Ho ho ho

  • chrisjones2

    …the people we elected …or are you against democracy too

  • Ciaran Goggins

    I never voted for corrupt nepotists.

  • chrisjones2

    Tough …… the majority of us did

  • Ciaran Goggins

    I am not responsible for your lack of IQ. Bye.

  • Neil

    Adams would have the right to non jury trial if he thought that were in his best interests. All he’d have to do is request it.

  • Jack Stone

    How many Jurors have ever been killed or harmed because they served on a jury in the history of Ireland? Has anyone ever been convicted of Jury intimidation in the history of Ireland? Is there a major historical precedent I am missing from the height of the troubles?

    It seems to me that the problem is the fear that in some cases the local jury themselves may sympathize with the aims of an organization thus the juror would be biased in favour of defendants irrespective of the evidence. This is a much more common problem in all legal systems which rely on a jury trial.

    Witnesses, on the other hand, are much more likely to be intimidated or killed by criminals and Irish history is rife with examples of retribution against witnesses. Yet, witnesses are required to give evidence in the Special Criminal Court just as they are in every other court. The absence of a jury has no impact on the potential for witnesses to be intimidated.

    So, it seems to me that the Special Criminal Court is jus a way to make it easier to convict undesirable criminals by stripping them of their right to a jury trial and the state is just masquerading behind a problem that has never been proven to exist in a court of law.

  • Dodge E Malseed Jnr

    No Ciaran you’re not, you were born in South Wales and it is deranged Trolls like yourself that eventually get locked up in the UK, not genuine bloggers.

  • Dodge E Malseed Jnr

    Your whole life is a lie. Incidentally you need to read up what perjury is, your ignorance is truly unbelievable.

  • Ciaran Goggins

    Didn’t Mr Fealty put a lifetime ban on you?