Coroner wants missing jurors arrested

A Donegal coroner has asked gardaí to issue arrest warrants after more than 20 people who failed to turn up for jury service in Letterkenny.

A Donegal coroner has asked gardaí to issue arrest warrants after more than 20 people who failed to turn up for jury service in Letterkenny.

The inquest into the deaths of two 19-year-old men who died in a fatal car accident in Fanad in 2010 was delayed for more than an hour after a full list of jury members failed to appear.

Coroner John Cannon mentioned during proceedings that he would have to look at the issue after the families of Seamus McBride, 25, and PJ Crerand were left to wait while efforts were made to locate jury members.

Thirty people were called for the jury panel and only two informed gardaí that they would be unable to attend.

Mr. Cannon said the poor attendance was “simply not acceptable” adding that people seemed to think that it was their decision if they decided to turn up but it was not.

He said people had an obligation under law to appear when summoned for jury duty and reminded the court that the penalty for non-attendance by a jury member was a fine of €500.

The coroner instructed Garda Sgt Brigid McGowan, who was conducting the inquest for the State, to arrange to have the arrest warrants issued to the members of the public who did not appear for jury service.

Earlier this year circuit court Judge Donagh McDonagh ordered that 27 people who failed to turn up for jury duty in Letterkenny be brought before the court to explain why they failed to appear.

He said he had never come across such a high number of people who ignored a summons to carry out jury duty.