London-based Irish World reports on an historic murder case where for the first time ever someone will stand trial in Britain for a murder that took place in Ireland.
Murder trial makes history
by Angela Sammon, 12 August 2005 edition
Legal history is being made in London this week as a British man stands trial for the murder of his Irish secretary in Dublin in 2003.
It is the first time that a person will be tried in a British court for a crime that has taken place in Ireland.
Christopher Newman, (63), is accused of murdering Georgina Eager (29) at a house in Walkinstown in May 2003. Ms Eager worked at the homeopathy practice owned by Mr. Newman, also known as Saph Dean.
She lived in the house next door and on 22 May 2003 she was found dead in a downstairs bedroom. She had been stabbed 30 times.
Mr Newman, a British citizen, was subsequently arrested in London and charged with her murder.
Under a law dating back more than 140 years, a British citizen can be tried in England for a murder in Ireland.
However, the Irish Labour Party has criticised the move that will see almost 40 witnesses including Ms Eagers family, gardai and the state pathologist – flown to London over the course of the trial.
The Party believes the accused should have been extradited to Ireland as travelling to the Old Bailey will cause further distress to the victims family.
Labour deputy leader and Wicklow TD Liz McManus will also travel in solidarity with the Eager family, who are from Newtownmountkennedy, Co. Wicklow in her constituency.
The Irish Ambassador in London, Dáithí Ó Ceallaigh, is sending an observer to the trial at Ms McManuss request.
I am attending the trial in order to demonstrate my solidarity with the family of Georgina Eager, who have been poorly treated and left largely in the dark by the legal authorities in both Britain and Ireland, Ms McManus said.
The man accused of Georginas murder was arrested in London shortly after her body was discovered in Dublin.
Contrary to the normal procedure no attempt was made to extradite him to this country and a decision was made to put him on trial in London.
It has never been made clear to the family why or by whom this decision was made. They have been told by the police authorities in both jurisdictions that the trial in England, in respect of a murder committed in Ireland is unprecedented. The British police have told them that they do not understand why extradition was not sought by the Irish authorities.
“Clearly holding this trial in Britain will create considerable logistical difficulties, inconvenience and additional cost for the members of Georgina’s family who wish to be present.
Ms McManus said she has raised the matter repeatedly with Justice Minister Michael McDowell in the Dáil but he has been less than helpful.
If the Victims Charter promulgated by the Department of Justice is to have any meaning, it seems to me that the Eager family is entitled to something more than the unsympathetic disclaimer of responsibility reflected in the ministers replies, she added.
The case will also prove a test for the inter-country agreement. The investigation into the murder was carried out by the Gardaí; but police officers interviewed the accused in Britain, where he had just been arrested on a public order offence.
The DPP considered the original investigation file but approved its transfer to the Crown Prosecution Service, and the prosecution team will be entirely British.