When the fourth estate becomes the fifth court

The media can sometimes cross the line of accountability, says criminal barrister Michael O’Higgins

10th April, 2016
Michael O’Higgins SC: ‘If the Joe O’Reilly murder had happened in Ballymun, people would not have been interested’ Picture: Fergal Phillips

In 1996, Tom Nevin was blasted by a nine-pellet shotgun while counting the day’s takings at Jack White’s Inn, the bar he ran in Co Wicklow. The killer had been hired by his wife, Catherine Nevin.

Her murder trial was a media frenzy. While the television cameras remained outside the courtroom, no detail was too small to report. The appearance of the woman dubbed the “Black Widow” was pored over, right down...

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