Media “wrongly excluded” from Waterford court by gardaí


A district court judge said journalists were “wrongly excluded” from his court in Waterford last month in a case that opened a wedge between the Garda and the Courts Service.

Judge Brian O’Shea was addressing Dungarvan District Court on Wednesday during a request from reporters for the digital audio recording of the Oct. 13 session of a case involving Kieran Hartley. Mr Hartley appeared before him on that date, charged with allegedly committing a public behavior offense against a family member of a local garda.

The court was to hear a challenge from Mr. Hartley on this occasion as to the authenticity of Garda’s statements collected for the case.

However, two journalists were barred from entering the courtroom for the case for more than three hours by An Garda Síochána. details ”as to why.

The Courts Service insisted that no such order had been provided and the judge reiterated this position during the court session on Wednesday, saying that “people were wrongly excluded from court on the day. “of the case last month.

‘No hesitation’

The judge told reporters Eoghan Dalton and Christy Parker that he had “no hesitation” in granting their request,

“It is appropriate that you have access so that you and the public know what happened,” he said. He added that due to ongoing public health restrictions, “the press has a more important function” as members of the public are sometimes prevented from accessing courtrooms due to number limits inside. .

While statements released through Garda’s press office claimed the gardaí was acting under the judge’s direction on October 13, justice spokespersons for Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin, as well as the Union national journalists, asked Garda for an explanation. management on how it came to its conclusions to exclude journalists.

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