A Longford man pleaded guilty last week to defilement of a child at Dublin's Central Criminal Court
The trial of Aaron Brady, who is charged with the capital murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe, may have to shorten its daily hearings in line with new health advice highlighted to the Oireachtas.Mr Justice Michael White today told the trial jury of six men and seven women that hearings may have to be limited because of Covid-19 health concerns.
He said the issue had arisen this morning and he had not yet been able to get advice on it. He told the jurors that he takes public health issues seriously and will update them tomorrow/today (THU) about the advice he receives regarding sitting times.
The judge's comments came after an Oireachtas committee sought advice from consultant microbiologist Professor Martin Cormican on the health implications of holding committee meetings lasting more than two hours. Mr Cormican has been quoted in a written submission to the committee saying: “If a person at one of the hearings develops covid-19 in the two days after the hearing they attended and if the hearing lasted for two hours or for more then everyone else who was in the room for that two-hour period will be designated a Covid contact and will be advised to self-isolate for 14 days.”
The chief justice and the presidents of the courts released a statement today saying they became aware of the additional health advice when it became public yesterday. The courts service has asked for "urgent further advices" on the matter and said the new advice has "the potential to affect the conduct of court hearings or sessions" where those in attendance are in court for more than two hours a day. Mr Brady's trial has been sitting from 9am until 1.30am with a 30 minute break in recent weeks.
Aaron Brady has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Det Gda Adrian Donohoe who was then a member of An Garda Siochana on active duty, on January 25, 2013 at Lordship Credit Union, Bellurgan, Co Louth. The 29-year-old from New Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh also pleaded not guilty to a charge of robbing approximately e7,000 in cash and assorted cheques from Mr Pat Bellew on the same date and at the same location.
The jury continued to hear evidence this morning as mobile phone analyst Edward McGoey told prosecution counsel Lorcan Staines SC that mobile phones belonging to Mr Brady and two other suspects for the robbery went silent during the period when the robbery took place. He said they later became active at a similar period of time.
The trial continues.