28 Jun 2022

Judge 'absolutely furious' that Longford trials have been further delayed

Legislation prevents Westmeath-sworn jury from sitting in Longford

Longford Circuit Court

Judge Keenan Johnson

A Circuit Court Judge has expressed his annoyance that legislation preventing a jury from moving from Mullingar to Longford courthouse will cause further delays to already over-due trials.

Judge Keenan Johnson has been sitting in Longford Circuit Court this week and impanelled two juries this morning at the Mullingar Park Hotel.

Jurors were sworn in at the Westmeath venue due to Covid-19 restrictions, which prevent large numbers of people gathering in Longford Courthouse.

The first of two Longford trials was due to begin tomorrow (Friday) but, because there is a trial ongoing in Mullingar Courthouse, which is likely to last into next week, a second trial cannot go ahead in the same venue.

Judge Johnson explained to the court, which sat in Tullamore today, that, while he tried to have the trials moved to Longford or Tullamore, legislation does not permit a jury to sit anywhere except where it was sworn in.

"We now have two juries and two venues we can't use. I'm absolutely furious," Judge Johnson fumed.

"These are things that need to be attended to. I see no reason why a jury can't sit elsewhere in the circuit in emergency situations and we are in an emergency situation.

"I will be making representations to that the law changed so watch this space."

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