Manslaughter jury warned over media coverage

Thursday 01 May 2014 17.01
Stephen Hughes died in a fire in 2001
Stephen Hughes died in a fire in 2001

The jury in the trial of a 54-year-old man accused of the manslaughter of a 12-year-old boy in Tallaght 13 years ago has been told it must decide the case on the evidence heard in court.

Judge Patricia Ryan told the six men and six women they could not have any regard to any publication in the media - in the press, television, radio or on the internet.  

Publication in the media had not been tested in court she told them. 

She also told them not to make any inquiries about the case on the internet. 

She said it was her duty to ensure a fair trial.  She said it was a very tragic case but told the jurors they must decide it in a rational way.

Dermot Griffin of Ballyfermot Road in Dublin denies the manslaughter of Stephen Hughes in the early hours of 1 September 2001 in Tallaght. 

The prosecution alleges he set fire to a makeshift den in which the boy and a friend were sleeping on Rossfield Avenue.

The court heard this morning from James O'Brien, who was one of the firefighters on the scene. 

He said he saw the body of a "little lad" in the den after the fire had been put out. 

He said he saw Stephen's friend Daryl Hall afterwards and said he was suffering from shock and his face was blackened.   

The court also heard from Derek Morris, who lived nearby, who said he was the first person on the scene of the fire. 

He said he woke up and heard screaming and ran across the road to the fire. 

He told the court he ran up to the fire but had to turn back because of the heat. 

He said Daryl was standing on a pillar and screaming "Stephen's in there".   He said Daryl was hysterical and in shock.

The trial continues this afternoon.