The trial of Tipperary All-Ireland winning goalkeeper Darren Gleeson on alleged theft charges has been postponed to June 27 by Judge Tom Teehan at Nenagh Circuit Court.
Mr Gleeson of Shesharoe, Portroe, has pleaded not guilty to stealing a total of €32,000 in 2013 from accounts belonging to clients at a financial advice firm.
The adjournment was made following submissions by defence counsel Johnny Walshe, BL, for free legal aid for a senior counsel for Mr Gleeson. As it stood, such aid was only available for a junior counsel, and the DPP had now instructed that the prosecution be led by a senior counsel.
Mr Walshe also raised concerns over material published on the internet in respect of the case, some of which had been removed from online.
However, other material remained accessible online, including items on the media site of a national newspaper.
Mr Walshe applied for the case to be adjourned at least until October so that the material could be fully removed from the internet and sufficient time would have elapsed so it would not affect the jury.
He confirmed that his solicitor had written to the media group involved requesting that the material involved be removed from public access.
Justin Dillon SC, for the State, objected to a lengthy adjournment, saying it might even push the case back out to January 2018 because of its potential effect on a State witness.
He pointed out that, unlike printed newspaper articles, it was very difficult to ensure everything in respect of ongoing legal actions was removed from the internet.
Mr Dillon stressed that he will be giving the jury instructions to disregard everything from outside sources, including the internet.
Judge Teehan adjourned the trial until June 27 and extended the legal aid certificate to cover a senior counsel.
He referred to a 1994 Supreme Court ruling in respect of a previous proceeding which was, he said, the focus of “one of the greatest media frenzies there has ever been”. That judgment allowed proceedings where very clear instructions are given to a jury in respect of outside material.
He said the State has given a clear undertaking to give instructions to the jury about disregarding everything in the media and on the internet.
Judge Teehan asked Mr Walshe to have his solicitor again contact the media group involved and made it known that the trial judge would request the material involved to be removed from the internet.
“I will not put it any further than that,” he said.