Jurors in the trial of two boys accused of the murder of Ana Kriégel have been warned that any lies told by the accused do not necessarily equate to guilt.
In his closing address on Tuesday at the end of six weeks of evidence, Mr Justice Paul McDermott told jurors to put on “teenage glasses” when considering how the two 14-year-old accused dealt with gardaí during interviews.
The judge said the prosecution was relying on alleged untruths told by the two accused, particularly Boy B, who gardaí repeatedly accused of lying to them. The prosecution said these lies were told for no other reason that to cover up guilt.
The prosecution is within its rights to rely on inconsistencies or lies to prove their case, the judge said. But jurors must avoid jumping to “simple conclusions” regarding the telling of lies. Sometimes lies can suggest guilt but they are also sometimes told by innocent people, he said.
He said the prosecution must prove the motivation for lying was the realisation of guilt and the fear or the truth. There are various innocent reasons for people to lie, including shame, panic, mis-judgment and confusion.
Much of the case against Boy B is based on what he said in Garda interviews, Mr Justice McDermott said. Jurors must take into account that the boy denied knowledge of any intention to kill Ana that day. He also denied assisting in her murder.
The jury must acquit Boy B if it believes his denials were credible or his account was reasonably possible.
Jurors should not be swayed by the questions asked by gardaí during the interviews or the related submissions made by barristers in court.
The judge reminded jurors they could not use answers given by Boy B in interview as evidence against Boy A.
Boy B admitted to being present when the attack on Ana began. This must be considered very carefully by the jury, Mr Justice McDermott said.
The boy is not guilty of murder simply because he was present at the scene. Neither is he guilty for not intervening to stop the attack, he said.
Helping to plan an attack, such as by making the victim available to the attacker, is a different matter, he said, and indicates participation.
The prosecution needed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Boy B knew what his co-accused planned to do to Ana.
Much of the evidence against Boy A was circumstantial, including the forensic evidence. He said jurors have to assess the weight of each piece of this evidence as well as its combined weight.
The prosecution allege the accused planned to kill Ana in advance, the judge said. Intent is a key ingredient of murder and the jury must acquit if it did not believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the intention was to kill or cause serious harm to Ana that day, Mr Justice McDermott said.
Intention did not require elaborate pre-planning or pre-meditation, the judge said, and can arise within a short period of time before a murder.
The judge is currently reviewing in detail the evidence heard during the trial. This will continue on Wednesday after which the jury will be asked to begin deliberations.
The prosecution allege Boy B lured Ana from her home at 5pm on May 14th, 2018 on the pretence of meeting Boy A, who Ana was “interested” in. Boy A then allegedly violently sexually assaulted and murdered her in the derelict farmhouse as Boy B watched.
Boy A has pleaded not guilty to the murder and sexual assault “involving serious violence” of Ana Kriégel on May 14th, 2018, at Glenwood House, Laraghcon, Clonee Road, Lucan in Dublin. Boy B has pleaded not guilty to the murder of the girl on the same date.
The two accused were 13 at the time of Ana’s death and are 14 now.