D.P.P. -v- Judge Devins, [2007] IEHC 405 (2007)

Docket Number:2007 48 JR
Party Name:D.P.P., Judge Devins
Judge:O''Neill J.
 
FREE EXCERPT

THE HIGH COURT

JUDICIAL REVIEW [2007 No. 48 J.R.]BETWEENTHE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS APPLICANT AND

DISTRICT JUDGE MARY DEVINSRESPONDENT AND

MICHAEL MC CORMACK NOTICE PARTY

JUDGMENT delivered by Mr. Justice O'Neill on the 4th day of December 2007

The issues which arises for determination in this case is whether or not, there should issue from this court an order of mandamus to the respondent directing her to hear and determine the application by the applicants to have re-entered a summons against the notice party, in which it is alleged that the driving by the notice party of a mechanical vehicle, on 25th August, 2005 at Drummindoo, Westport in the County of Mayo was dangerous to the public contrary to s. 53(1) of the Road Traffic Act, 1961.

By order of this court (Peart J.) of 22nd January, 2007, the applicant was given leave to pursue certain reliefs by way of judicial review, the first of these reliefs was an order of mandamus directing the respondent to hear and determine the complaint that the notice party on 25th August, 2005 at Drummindoo, Westport, Co. Mayo drove a vehicle which having regard to all the circumstances was dangerous to the public contrary to the s. 53(1) of the Road Traffic Act, 1961. In addition he was granted leave to pursue an order of certiorari of an order made by the respondent on 11th September, 2006 in the District Court area of Westport whereby the respondent made an order striking out the aforesaid charge.

Notwithstanding, the foregoing leave granted, it is now common case between the parties, that having regard to the circumstances of the case, the only appropriate relief now to be sought is an order of mandamus directing the respondent to hear and determine the applicants application to re-enter the summons in respect of the aforesaid charge.

The background to this matter is as follows.

It is alleged that on 25th August, 2005 at Drummindoo, Westport, Co. Mayo, the notice party attempted to perform a u-turn on the main Castlebar to Westport road in the process of which he turned into the path of a motor cyclist, one Mark Sheridan, who as a result of the collision between his motor cycle and the notice party's vehicle suffered very severe injuries. The incident was witnessed by two independent witnesses, a Lawrence Murphy from Middlesex in England and Adrian Shanaher from Tempelogue in Dublin.

In due course an application was made for a summons and the same was issued on the 2nd February, 2006 returnable for the 4th May, 2006. When the matter came before the District Court it was adjourned on a number of occasions but ultimately the date of trial was fixed for 7th September, 2006. On that date no judge was available and the entire District Court list for the day was adjourned to 11th September, 2006. On the 11th September, 2006 the State, on that occasion represented by Inspector Martin Byrne, was unable to proceed with the prosecution because of the unavailability of prosecution witnesses. All of the prosecution witnesses had been available on 7th September, 2006. The injured party Mr. Sheridan had postponed surgery in order to give evidence on that date, but his surgery was re scheduled for 8th September, 2006. On 11th September, 2006 Mr. Sheridan was not available, nor could Lawrence Murphy arrange to travel back from England at such short notice.

As...

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