BEING from beyond Clonakilty proved to be a bridge too far for a young man to fulfil his obligation to comply with jury service in Cork city recently.
The young man raised his issue on the first day on which a new jury panel was called for a fortnight of jury service at the Anglesea Street courthouse in Cork.
The registrar, Margaret O’Halloran, had informed the jury panellists that if they knew any parties in the case then they should raise that before the administration of the oath.
That would also be the moment for them to raise any other issues they might have about jury service, she said.
The young man raised his issue as soon as the bible was handed to him.
He said that it was a huge inconvenience for him because he was from outside Clonakilty and had no transport and that this was going to make it extremely difficult for him to get to Cork city every day for a fortnight.
Judge Ó Donnabháin had been told that the trial was only going to last minutes, as in effect there was no prosecution evidence against the defendant.
But a jury still had to be sworn. The judge told the West Cork man that his trip to Cork might as well serve some purpose so he had him sworn in.
Then once the case opened, he directed the jury to find the accused not guilty.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said: ‘It would take me too long to explain why we had to go through this rigmarole but it was not an onerous task – even for someone who had to cycle from Clonakilty,’ Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin joked to the young man who had complained about his transport difficulty.
And for the rest of the fortnight, the judge excused him from further jury service at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Because the jury had been sworn in for a trial the jurors were told that they could go home for the rest of the day – or if they wished they could have their lunch, paid for by the State.
That may have left the young man from West Cork with a better taste in his mouth after his call for jury service.