Judge refuses to strike out Limerick assault case over media reports

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Judge Eugene O' Kelly
A JUDGE has refused to strike out the case of a Limerick man who is charged in connection with the alleged kidnapping of a woman who was held captive at a flat in the city for almost a week.

A JUDGE has refused to strike out the case of a Limerick man who is charged in connection with the alleged kidnapping of a woman who was held captive at a flat in the city for almost a week.

At Limerick Court, solicitor John Devane produced a number of national newspaper articles relating to the case, which he said were “sensationalist” and defamatory of his client.

Last week Jody Curtin, aged 33, of Claughaun Avenue, Garryowen, was charged with assault causing harm to the woman at a flat in Limerick city on May 3 last.

Two other men have been charged with falsely imprisoning the woman in the Thomondgate area on the same date.

As Curtin appeared before the court via video-link on Tuesday, Mr Devane claimed his client had been “gravely prejudiced” by articles published last week by the Irish Independent, The Herald and the Sunday World newspapers.

Mr Devane said his client was before the court on an assault charge and he requested that the editors of the three newspapers and the two reporters involved be brought before the court to explain their actions.

Mr Devane added that just one reporter – from the Limerick Leader – was in court for last week’s bail application and he commented that the report published in this newspaper was “100% right”

Sgt Donal Cronin said the state did not have a view on the application but he noted there are “many mechanisms” open to the court and trial judge to ensure adverse publicity didn’t affect any future proceedings.

Refusing the application, Judge O’Kelly said the defendant had not been identified in any of the national newspaper articles and he noted that a photograph in the Sunday World had been pixilated.

Judge O’Kelly agreed that stories published in the Irish Independent and The Herald and the Sunday World were “sensationalist” and he said it was “outrageous that a newspaper should seek to adjudicate on a matter that has yet to come to court”. Referring to the so called “fade factor” the judge noted that it “may be some time” before the case against Curtin is heard.

Judge O’Kelly added that he did not know how the media worked and he suggested that Mr Devane should make a complaint to The Press Council. The judge also refused an application – made by Mr Devane – to consider granting his client bail in the circumstances.

Judge O’Kelly remanded Curtin in continuing custody until July 18 next.