Judges are forced to adjourn major cases

Judges are forced to adjourn major cases

Beitragvon geemong » Di Jan 11, 2022 5:23 am

Judges are forced to adjourn major cases


A number of major court cases, including two murder trials and a Troubles shooting case, have been adjourned due to the Covid pandemic.

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The concerns centre on the more easily spread Omicron variant of Covid, which has yet to peak in Northern Ireland.

The virus is expected to do so in another week to 10 days.

A directive has also been issued regarding trials expected to run for a long time or those involving several defendants or witnesses.

It has been issued by the office of the lady chief justice.

It is feared that if such cases were to proceed now, they might have to be adjourned later if anyone contracts the disease, in turn leading to even further delays.

As the trials were adjourned following submissions from the prosecution and defence counsel, each of the senior judges involved set out the current reasoning behind the measures aimed at reducing the effect on the running of the courts.

Last week, the Diplock-style trial of a former soldier, 53-year-old David Jonathan Holden, for the alleged manslaughter of County Tyrone man Aiden McAnespie on February 21 1988, was adjourned because of a suspected case of Covid.

The case will be mentioned in court again at the end of the month.

Also in Belfast on Monday, Mr Justice Scoffield apologised for postponing the trial of Raymond Martin Gabriel O'Neill for the murder of west Belfast mother-of-three Jennifer Dornan, who was stabbed to death in Lagmore in the early hours of Sunday 2 August, 2015.
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