New jury to be selected this morning for Salthill murder trial

Maura Thornton pictured arriving at the Central Criminal Court sitting at Galway Courthouse:  Photo: Hany Marzouk

Maura Thornton pictured arriving at the Central Criminal Court sitting at Galway Courthouse: Photo: Hany Marzouk

A new jury is to be empanelled at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Galway this morning (Thursday ) to hear evidence in the trial of a Connemara woman who denies murdering a former boyfriend at an apartment in Salthill almost 18 months ago.

The trial of 31-year-old Maura Thornton of Inverin, Bealadangan, was into its second day yesterday (Wednesday ) when it was suspended and the jury of six men and six women was discharged by Mr Justice Barry White due to difficulties with one of the members.

Before the trial began on Tuesday, Ms Thornton fought back sobs as she entered a plea of not guilty to the murder of 59-year-old Kevin Joyce, an American national living in Galway for many years, on July 31, 2011, at 183 Upper Salthill.

When the trial resumed yesterday Justice White told the jury that the trial could not proceed and a “fresh jury had to be sworn in”.

He said: “I have been made aware that one of you is in possession of information in relation to this matter which perhaps is not in the public domain,” and that one juror had disregarded advice given about the dangers of discussing the trial with others.

Justice White then discharged the jury and made an order for the jury panel to be brought back to the court this morning so that a new jury could be selected.

Once the jury is selected it is expected the trial will resume and continue to the end of next week with witnesses and other evidence being presented throughout.

The difficulties with the juror came to light as the second day of the trial was due to begin. On the opening day Mr Paul Greene SC addressed the jury giving an outline of the prosecution’s case.

He said Ms Thornton had been living alone in the apartment and that she had been in a relationship with the deceased and that both had an alcohol dependency.

The court then heard that it would be alleged that Joyce had called to the apartment on the day he died, after making a number of calls throughout the day.

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