Judge continues to deliver charge to jury in Michael Scott trial

Judge Continues To Deliver Charge To Jury In Michael Scott Trial Judge Continues To Deliver Charge To Jury In Michael Scott Trial
Michael Scott (58) of Gortanumera, Portumna, Co Galway has pleaded not guilty to murdering his aunt Christina 'Chrissie' Treacy. Photo: Collins
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Alison O'Riordan

A judge has continued delivering her charge for a second day to the jury in the trial of a farmer accused of murdering his aunt following a long-running dispute over land.

Ms Justice Caroline Biggs spent Thursday going through the evidence that the Central Criminal Court jury has heard since the trial commenced in January.

The judge has so far spent about eight hours giving her charge to the 15 jurors. Shortly after 4pm she told the jury that she would stop and resume her charge in the morning. "I'm over two thirds of the way, I hope in or around lunchtime tomorrow I will have finished the evidence," she added.

On Wednesday, the jury in the trial of Michael Scott were told by the trial judge that they could return a verdict of manslaughter if they acquitted him of murder but found that he was grossly negligent when he reversed over his 76-year-old aunt in an agricultural teleporter.



Ms Justice Biggs began her charge on Tuesday to the 15-person jury in which she explained the legal principles that they will apply when considering the evidence. To find Mr Scott guilty of murder, she said they must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Scott intended to kill or cause serious injury to his aunt when he ran over her.

If they are not satisfied that the prosecution has proven the case for murder, Ms Justice Biggs said the jury must consider a verdict of manslaughter through "gross negligence". If there is a reasonable possibility that what happened was an accident, they must acquit Mr Scott and enter the words "not guilty" on the issue paper, she said.

For a manslaughter verdict the prosecution does not have to prove that Mr Scott intended or even foresaw that he was going to harm Ms Treacy or anyone else, the judge said. "It is the act itself of driving in a grossly negligent way causing the death of another human being that gives rise to manslaughter," she said.

A finding of criminal negligence would require the jury to be satisfied that the manner of Mr Scott's driving was "so bad that any reasonable person, if they thought about it at all, would have realised that they could cause serious injury to some person."

Mr Scott (58) of Gortanumera, Portumna, Co Galway has pleaded not guilty to murdering his aunt Christina 'Chrissie' Treacy outside her home in Derryhiney, Portumna, Co Galway on April 27th, 2018.

The trial has heard that Mr Scott told gardaí that he was reversing the teleporter across the yard outside Ms Treacy's home when he felt a "thump" and thought he might have struck a trailer. He said he rolled the machine forward to level ground and when he got out of the cabin he found Ms Treacy lying on the ground.

The prosecution case is that Mr Scott deliberately reversed over Ms Treacy following a long-running dispute over land. Mr Scott's lawyers have told the Central Criminal Court that her death was a tragic accident.

Ms Justice Biggs will continue recapping the evidence heard during the trial on Friday. When she has completed her recap, three jurors will be chosen by lottery and discharged, leaving 12 to consider their verdict.

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