Mistrial is sought by convicted pig farmer
The sentencing of a Longford pig farmer convicted of assaulting two men from a repossession company took an unexpected turn yesterday when he sought a mistrial because of “jury misconduct”.
Donal Connaughton (54), Elfeet, Newtowncashel, Co Longford, was found guilty before Christmas of two counts of false imprisonment, two charges of threatening to cause serious harm, one count of assault and two of criminal damage.
The six-day trial in December heard how Connaughton had ordered the two men to strip and get into a pen with an agitated boar during a row which lasted almost half an hour. The two men were assaulted and were made to kneel and pray before they were allowed to leave on foot.
Connaughton appeared before Judge Anthony Hunt at Longford Circuit Court yesterday to be sentenced.
At the beginning of proceedings, Donal Keane, prosecuting, said that a matter had been brought to his attention in the past two days. He did not wish to go into detail but it was a serious matter and he requested time for it to be investigated.
Connaughton, who represented himself in court yesterday, stood up and told Judge Hunt that he would like to put forward a motion seeking a mistrial.
“I’m looking for a mistrial in view of serious evidence I have brought to the gardaí in relation to jury misconduct.”
Judge Hunt said the defendant would have to bring such a matter to another court. He was content that the trial had been conducted properly and that a jury verdict had been returned.
The court rose for a short break. Afterwards Mr Keane said the prosecution would require about eight weeks to investigate the matter. Judge Hunt adjourned the case to June 5th.
In December, Patrick Mulvey and Justin Tighe, employees of Assets Security in Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, told the court that they feared for their lives after going to JAC Pigs Ltd in Co Longford to repossess items on behalf of GE Money.
A scuffle had taken place in the yard at the pig farm during which Mr Mulvey and Mr Tighe said they were assaulted. They said Connaughton had ordered them to strip and get into the pen with the boar. When they refused, he made them get on their knees and say the Our Father before they were allowed to leave.