Cirpaci -v- Judge O'Neill & Anor, [2017] IEHC 263 (2017)

Docket Number:2016 429 JR
Party Name:Cirpaci, Judge O'Neill & Anor
 
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THE HIGH COURT2016 No.429JR

Between:

SIMONA CIRPACIApplicant– and –

ELECTRICITY SUPPLY BOARD NETWORKS LIMITEDRespondent

JUDGMENT of Mr Justice Max Barrett delivered on 5th May, 2017.

I: Background

  1. Ms Cirpaci was issued with a summons dated 6th May, 2015, charging her with two offences under the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995, as amended, viz. unlawful interference with an ESB meter contrary to s.15(3) of that Act, and failing to take all reasonable steps to ensure that interference with an ESB meter was discontinued, contrary to s.15(6) of the Act. The detail of those provisions is considered later below. The content of the summons that issued to Ms Cirpaci is set out overleaf.

  2. As can be seen from the substance of the summons, despite blank spaces being left in the standard template, at no point does the summons state which District Court office it issues from. Notably, the summons also states the date on which the first offence of unlawful interference occurred as being 28th April, 2014.

  3. Ms Cirpaci attended Court 8 of the Four Courts as required on 22nd June, 2015, and as required thereafter. By letter of 30th June, 2015, the prosecution furnished disclosure to Ms Cirpaci’s solicitor. This included (1) a “Customer Visit Discrepancy Report” that listed the date of detection of interference with the meter as 28th April, 2014, and (2) a “Units Undercharge Calculator” that identifies the time-period of undercharge as being from 6th May, 2011, to 27th April, 2014.

  4. The matter was set down for hearing on 30th November, 2015. On that date the prosecution sought an adjournment as the defence had raised a preliminary jurisdictional argument which required to be clarified. This adjournment was granted, the learned District Justice requesting that both parties furnish brief written submissions on the jurisdictional argument in advance of the next hearing-date. Following a further adjournment, the matter came to be heard on 4th April, 2016.

    Content of the Summons.

    “AN CHUIRT DUICHE THE DISTRICT COURT

    No. 15.2 SCHEDULE B

    O. 15, r.2(1)

    Courts (No. 3) Act, 1986

    Section 1

    SUMMONS

    DUBLIN METROPOLITAN DISTRICT

    ESB NETWORKS LIMITED PROSECUTOR

    of Clanwilliam House, Clanwilliam Place, Dublin 2

    (a Limited Liability Company)

    SIMONA CIRPACI ACCUSED

    of [Address Stated in Original], County Dublin

    WHEREAS on the 6 day of May 2015, an application was made to this office by Vincent M. O’Reilly, State Solicitor, Navan, County Meath *(on behalf of) the above named Prosecutor for the issue of a Summons to you, the above named Accused of [Address Stated in Original] *(in Court Area and District aforesaid) alleging the following offence(s):-

    OFFENCE 1

    THAT YOU the said Simona Carpaci did on the 28th day of April 2014 at [Address Stated in Original], County Dublin in the Court Area and District aforesaid unlawfully interfere with an article owned by or under the control of the Electricity Supply Board contrary to Section 15(3) of the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995, as amended by Section 5 of the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2012.

    OFFENCE 2

    AND FURTHER THAT YOU the said Simona Carpaci being a registered consumer of the electricity supply at [Address Stated in Original], County Dublin on the 28th day of April 2014 having reasonable grounds for believing that a meter to which Subsection 15(6)(a) of the...

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