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Nally back in court

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Nally back in court

THE jurors that will decide on the fate of Padraig Nally have been warned not to serve if they have prejudices about farmers or travellers.
The re-trial of the Cross farmer for the manslaughter of John ‘Frog’ Ward  was due to get under way at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin this week, but while the jury was empanelled on Monday morning the actual trial will not start until this morning (Wednesday), due to the involvement of Defence Counsel, Mr Brendan Grehan, SC, in a murder trial in Cork yesterday (Tusday).
Mr Justice Paul Carney warned the jury of eight men and four women at the outset on Monday that if they had any prejudices against the travelling or farming communities they should not serve on the jury. Padraig Nally
“Your job will be to deal strictly with the evidence in the case and rule on that. I don’t think I have ever witnessed a case that has attracted as much publicity as this case and I want you to keep in your mind throughout the trial that our job is to rule on the facts presented to you in court,” he said.
While Justice Carney issued the warning, the case is being heard by Judge Kevin O’Higgins. The Director of Public Prosecutions is represented by Mr Paul O’Higgins, SC and Mr John Jordan BL, instructed by Ms Margaret Moran. Mr Nally is represented by Mr Brendan Grehan SC and Mr Michael Bowman, BL, instructed by Sean Foy, solicitor.
Mr O’Higggins, SC, gave the jury a brief outline of the events of October 14, 2004 which culminated in the shooting dead of Mr Ward.
He said that Mr Nally was in his kitchen having lunch on the day in question when he heard a car revving outside at the front. He went to see who was there and noticed a car reversed in his driveway. He saw Tom Ward, son of the deceased, in the car and he asked him ‘where was the other fellow?’.
Mr Ward replied that he had gone around the back for a look. At that stage Mr Nally is alleged to have said that ‘he won’t be coming out again’.
Mr O’Higgins went on to describe to the jury an altercation that occurred between the two men close to the back door of the house. Mr Nally took a shotgun from his shed and shot Mr Ward in the right hand and right hip.
A further struggle ensued and Mr Nally alleged that Mr Ward attempted to take his gun from him. He [Mr Nally] then took a stick and started to hit Mr Ward with it across the head and body. Mr O’Higgins said the evidence will be that Mr Ward sustained 25 wounds from blows he received from the stick. He also said that in his statement to the Gardaí, Mr Nally described hitting Mr Ward as ‘like hitting a badger’.
Mr Ward attempted to get away and he eventually found his way out towards the public road. As he limped away, Mr O’Higgins said that he was followed by Mr Nally, who shot him again. Mr Ward died almost immediately at the scene and Mr Nally removed his body from the road and put him over a wall into an adjacent field.
Mr O’Higgins, SC, said that that the prosecution will say that the killing in those circumstances was not, and could not be, viewed as a lawful killing. The case was due to resume this morning (Wednesday).

Nally’s single act in court is to plead ‘not guilty’ to manslaughter

Padraig Burns
at the Central Criminal Court

COURTROOM No 2 in the Four Courts in Dublin was packed on Monday morning, with a couple of hundred people gathered for jury service.
It was hot and sticky and the oppressive conditions proved too much for one potential juror who fainted and required medical attention before being allowed home for the day.
In the midst of the throng at the rear of the room stood Padraig Nally, dressed in a navy suit with white shirt and blue tie. The last time Padraig Nally stood in the Four Courts he had just come from prison and had obviously not been to the barber for some time. However, on Monday he looked remarkably relaxed and at ease with himself as he chatted to his solicitor, Sean Foy and his friend and neighbour, Paddy Rocke.
At about ten past eleven the court clerk called out his name and Padraig Nally walked to the front of the courtroom. Necks strained as people sought to get a glance at the Mayo man. The court clerk read out the charge of manslaugher and Mr Nally replied ‘not guilty’. He sat down and smiled at the guard that stood close to him.
Fifteen minutes later the jury was selected. The jury selection process is an intriguing one. Counsel for both prosecution and defence can object to seven people serving on the jury and they need not make their reasons known. Some people who were called were unable to serve, for a variety of reasons, impending hospital appointments the most common. Eight men and four women, mostly of middle age, will try Padraig Nally on the charge of the manslaughter of John ‘Frog’Ward in Cross two years ago. Justice Carney warned the jury before they left to pick their foreman that if any of them felt any animosity or prejudice towards either travellers or farmers they should withdraw from the jury. No one did.
Justice Carney will not preside over the case this time; that onerous task will be undertaken by Justice Kevin O’Higgins. The prosecuting counsel, Mr Paul O’Higgins, did give the jury the background to the case on Monday. It made for sobering listening and though there is hardly a person in the country who doesn’t know the details of the case at this stage, listening to them again on Monday, brought home just how enormous a responsibility the 12 jurors face over the next week or so.
There was no huge fanfare attached to Monday’s proceedings, although that is likely to change as the case progresses. There was no sign of the entourage that accompanied Padraig Nally during the original trial, while there didn’t seem to be any members of the late John ‘Frog’Ward’s family in court either. Again, that will probably all change as the case gets under way.