A juror involved in a criminal trial in the temporary courthouse at Gracedieu Manor on the Tramore Road had his car clamped in the adjacent car park, the Circuit Criminal Court was told in Waterford, last week.
The chairman of the jury complained to Judge Eugene O’Kelly that the clamp was attached to the wheel of the car while the juror was in the Jury Room and unable to leave to put coins in the parking ticket machine.
“Through no fault of his own his car was clamped and he had to pay €120 to have it released”, said the chairman.
“The ticket machine only accepted €1.50 and would not take further coinage for longer parking time. He wanted to pay for parking but could not leave the court to put additional coins in the machine.”
The Chairman added that the jury had to park in the car park as no lace else was available and it was most unfair that somebody had to pay €120 to release a car.
Judge O’Kelly thanked the jury chairman for bring this matter to his attention. The courthouse at Gracedieu was a temporary facility that would be in use for the next two to three years and he was not aware of the contractual situation.
He had been told that the Court Services had a lease of the building but did not operate the car park as it had been retained by the property owners.
The situation was no different from any other car park in the city. He said he could not make any decision on this matter but in his opinion it seemed must inappropriate that no facilities were available for jurors.
“It is very poor recognition and reward if a juror goes out after a day in court to find his car has been clamped,” said the Judge.
Waterford State Solicitor Frank Hutchinson said he would write to the Court Services expressing the sentiments expressed in court and see if something could be done about the €120 clamping fee. Attending court at a location outside the city centre was an inconvenience, he added.
Judge O’Kelly noted that the €120 clamping fee had already been paid by the juror to get his car released. He thanked the jury for their contribution to the court and this issue would not arise for them again as he excused them from jury service for three years.
The State Solicitor would use his best endeavours to see that the juror in question had his money reimbursed. There may be some fund from which the Court Services could arrange for car parking for the jury.