A 15-person jury has been sworn in to hear the trial of a man charged with the capital murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe seven years ago.
Aaron Brady replied "not guilty" when charged with the murder of Det Gda Donohoe who was then a member of An Garda Síochána on active duty on January 25th, 2013 at Lordship Credit Union, Bellurgan, Co Louth.
The 28-year-old from New Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh also replied "not guilty" to a charge of robbing approximately €7,000 in cash and assorted cheques from Pat Bellew on the same date and at the same location.
Mr Justice Michael White at the Central Criminal Court told the jury panel that the trial will be a lengthy one and is estimated to finish on May 28th.
He warned the panel not to allow themselves to be sworn onto the jury if they have a difficulty in serving, as that would cause “serious difficulties” for the court.
The judge said the trial will break for two weeks at Easter and will not sit on the St Patrick’s Day public holiday. He said there will also be breaks when he will deal with legal matters in the absence of the jury. He added: “That may suit self-employed people, who I would hope would consider sitting on the jury.” He said he was conscious it is a long trial but added: “The director [Director of Public Prosecutions] and defence and the Court are anxious to get a cross-section of jurors from all walks of life and I would ask you to consider serving for those reasons.”
Mr Justice White said jurors must be impartial and asked them to let him know if they are aware of publicity and media coverage that might affect their impartiality. He further stated that anyone from the Carlingford area, including Louth, Newry and south Armagh, should not serve because witnesses in the trial are from those areas.
He further explained that 15 people would be selected but only 12 will take part in the final deliberations. The extra jurors are there in case someone is forced to drop out through illness or any other reason. If more than 12 jurors remain at the end of the trial there will be an open ballot to decide the final make-up of the jury, Mr Justice White said.
It took nearly two hours to swear nine women and six men as more than 40 potential jurors were excused after pleading to the judge. Mr Justice White warned them not to look on social media or to research anything on the internet relating to the trial as they are only to pay attention to the evidence in court.
The trial will open on Tuesday.