Jobstown trial jury to continue considering verdict this afternoon

The 11 jury members – seven men and four women – will resume deliberations at 2pm in what is now the ninth week of the case.

They began considering their verdict yesterday and were sent home after being told some legal issues will need to be dealt with this morning and they should suspend their deliberations until this afternoon.

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy and five others have pleaded not guilty to falsely imprisoning former Tánaiste Joan Burton, and her adviser Karen O’Connell at a water charge protest in Jobstown November 2014.

Judge Melanie Greally yesterday urged the jury of seven men and four women to be “fearless” when deliberating the case, and also said she did not expect them to be “deaf or blind” to the political element of the case, or the emotions that water charges generated across the nation.

Judge Greally said the jury might have “natural sympathies” towards the accused men’s predicament.

She said they may know some of the defendants from their political activity, and they may like or dislike them.

“You may be concerned about the consequences of your decision for any number of reasons,” Judge Greally said. “I ask you to be fearless and put aside your sympathies or strong views you may have in this case or indeed of the political climate (at the time of the alleged offence).”

The prosecution alleged that the accused men and others totally restrained the former Tánaiste Joan Burton, and her adviser Karen O’Connell by obstructing the cars and that they did so intentionally.

Outlining the prosecution case, Judge Greally said the prosecution alleged the protest was not peaceful, that there was a risk to Ms Burton’s safety and she was entitled to leave Jobstown when advised by gardaí to do so.

Judge Greally said the defence case was that there was no false imprisonment and that the accused men were exercising their constitutional right of peaceful assembly.

The judge told the jury the right to peaceful protest is recognised in Irish and European law but only peaceful protest is protected.