Fitzgerald & Ors -v- Garda Síochána Complaints Board, [2008] IEHC 109 (2008)

Docket Number:2005 1186, 1187, 1188, 1189, 1190, 604 & 535 JR
Party Name:Fitzgerald & Ors, Garda Síochána Complaints Board
Judge:Hedigan J.
 
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THE HIGH COURT

JUDICIAL REVIEW

2005 No. 1186, 1187, 1188,

1189, 1190, 604 & 535 J.R.

BETWEEN

SEAMUS FITZGERALD, EDWARD MONAGHAN, BRIAN O'NEILL,

PATRICK JOSEPH BLACK, MARY GILMARTIN, TIMOTHY WALSH

AND CONLAITH MULHALL

APPLICANTS

AND

GARDA SÍOCHÁNA COMPLAINTS BOARD

RESPONDENT

Judgment of Mr. Justice John Hedigan delivered on the 22nd day of April, 2008.

The Applicants

The applicants herein are members of the Garda Síochána against whom a complaint was made concerning their conduct by a member of the public. The applicants allege the complaint was not properly made because it was not made within the statutory timeframe and/or as a result thereof the decision made by the chief executive of the respondent Board to declare the complaint admissible was ultra vires and invalid. The applicants seek an order of certiorari quashing this decision.

The respondent argues the complaint was made within the statutory timeframe and that the applicants in this regard have miscalculated the period when they claim it is one day out of time. Because the complaint was made within time the decision of the chief executive of the Board was a correct and valid one. By way of a preliminary point the respondent argues this application is not brought within the six month period prescribed by rules of Court.

The Background

On Friday the 3rd September, 2004, in or about 5pm the chief executive of the Garda Complaints Board received a telephone call at the offices of the Board from a Dr. David Cloran. Dr. Cloran in the course of that telephone call made a complaint in relation to the conduct of the applicants herein. He alleged this conduct had occurred during an incident on the 5th March, 2004, in respect of the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh applicants and on the 25th June, 2004, in respect of the conduct of the first and second applicants and in respect of his subsequent attempts to make a complaint in respect thereof. He indicated that he wished to lodge a complaint. He was told by the chief executive that his complaint was in time but that he should follow up with a document he was then working on which detailed his complaints. The chief executive furnished Dr. Cloran with the Board's fax number.

At forty nine minutes past midnight on the 5th September, 2004, a fax was transmitted by the complainant to this fax number and was recorded as received at 00.49.20. This fax was a document which contained the full complaint made by Dr. Cloran. On the 6th September, 2004, the chief executive decided to admit the complaint as valid. The applicants were subsequently notified of this decision. Initially the Board considered the complaint had been made...

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