Judge socially isolating during ongoing criminal trial

A judge who had close contact with somebody with Covid-19 has directed a jury in an ongoing criminal trial from his home.

Via video-link to the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin city, Judge James McCourt told the jury this morning that he was socially isolating at home after close contact with somebody who has since tested positive for the virus.

He said that since learning of the close contact’s diagnosis he has himself been tested and has received a negative result.

The trial of two brothers at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard allegations that they repeatedly indecently assaulted two of their younger brothers in the years between 1979 and 1988.

One of the complainants testified that he was raped up to 1200 times over a number of years.

The trial began last week and the jury began deliberations on Thursday afternoon but were sent home on Friday morning because Judge McCourt was absent due to the Covid 19 contact.

The boys were members of a large family and the alleged  abuse occurred at the family home in Dublin. Neither of the defendants can be named to protect the anonymity of the complainants.

The eldest brother, who is now aged 55 and living in Co Meath, has pleaded not guilty to 35 sample counts of indecently assaulting his two younger brothers on dates between 1979 and 1985.  The second oldest brother, now aged 50, pleaded not guilty to 16 sample counts of indecently assaulting his younger brother between 1985 and 1988.

The jury of seven women and five men resumed deliberations on Monday morning.

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