IRISH JUDICIAL STUDIES JOURNAL
 Irish Judicial Studies Journal Vol 5(1)
June 2018, both boys were convicted for the murder of Ana Kriégel, with Boy A facing an
additional sentence for aggravated sexual assault.
Should the Court have removed the ban? More importantly, should Ireland prohibit
contemporaneous media reporting of juvenile trials? This is important to consider because
whenever serious crimes such as murder, manslaughter or rape are allegedly committed by
children, they catch the attention of the nation. They are heavily reported by the media who
are eager to get into the courtroom if the cases go to trial.
This occurred in the murder trial
of Ana Kriégel,
and may be observed again if children are ever tried in the Central Criminal
Court. However, what does the Ana Kriégel murder case tell us about the way in which
juvenile trials are reported in Ireland? Can contemporaneous media reporting of juvenile
trials infringe upon the right to a fair trial? Lastly, are there any legal impediments towards
the prohibition of contemporaneous media reporting of juvenile trials? This paper seeks to
answer these questions. The Ana Kriégel case is utilised as an illustrative example to re-
consider conceptual notions, rationales and legal grounds for contemporaneous media
reporting of juvenile trials in Ireland. The ability of the media to be present in the courtroom
during child trials derives from section 257 of the Children Act 2001 (Children Act) which
Where in any proceedings for an offence a person who, in the opinion of the
court, is a child is called as a witness, the court may exclude from the court
during the taking of his or her evidence all persons except officers of the
court, persons directly concerned in the proceedings, bona fide representa tives of
the P ress and such other persons (if any) as the court may in its discretion
permit to remain.
This section prevents the judge from barring bona fide members of the media from the
courtroom if a child is a witness in proceedings. It also specifically refers to ‘child witnesses’
as opposed to ‘child defendants’ , so it is uncertain whether section 257 extends to child
defendants. This paper is concerned wi th the latter case only, specifically with proceedings
involving child defendants for indictable offences tried in the Central Criminal Court.
the provision applies to proceedings where a child is a defendant, then the court is prohibited
from excluding bona fide members of the press from the courtroom in such cases. However,
if the provision does not apply to child defendants, the media can indeed be excluded. In any
event, the significance of the provision is that it permits the press to obtain evidence during
certain child trials. Although we can assume that this is done with a view to eventual
publication, the media are not mandated to publish the evidence obtained, and there is
nothing in the provision preventing the court from delaying publications until trials are over.
This paper will argue that delaying publications should be the preferred practice.
Neil Leslie, ‘Gardaí review CCTV footage after attack on Ana Kriégel killer Boy A at Oberstow n detention
centre; It's understood Gardai have reviewed CCTV foo tage of the alleged incident bu t there have no t been
any arrests’ Irish Mirror (Dublin, 5th June 2020).
See Natasha Reid, ‘“You left me for dead”: Teenage b oy pleads guilty to attempted m urder of wom an he met
on social media, court hears’ T he Journal (Dublin, 5 March 2019). See also Michelle Hennessey, ‘Thousands of
crimes, including rape, not prosecuted due to serious failings in Garda youth scheme’ The Journ al (Dublin, 17
Miriam Delahunt (n 2). See also Conor Gallagher (n 1).
Children Act 2001, s 257.
The paper is not concerned with cases h eard in the Children Court which is a special Court for children th at
sits in t he District Court and h ears sum mary offences com mitted or in volving children. It has the jurisd iction
to hear almost all child cases apart from murder wh ich m ust be heard in the High Court. See also: Children
Act 2001, s 71.