NI: Crown Court trial over Nama scandal evidence to be heard without jury
A high-profile trial concerning evidence given to a Stormont committee about the Nama property scandal will be heard without a jury in an unprecedented step.
Former Sinn Féin MLA Daithi McKay, Sinn Féin member Thomas O’Hara and loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson are facing a Crown Court trial on a charge of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
The charge concerns a meeting of Stormont’s finance committee in September 2015, where it is alleged that the three men conspired to manipulate the presentation of evidence. All three deny the charges.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has now ordered the case to be heard without a jury under the provisions of the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007, the Belfast Telegraph reports.
There is a presumption of trial by jury in all cases before the Crown Court. In 2019, only one per cent of all Crown Court cases were conducted without a jury.
A spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) said it believes “there is a risk that the administration of justice might be impaired if the trial were to be conducted with a jury”, but did not elaborate why.