Gorman -v- Judge Martin & Ors, [2005]IESC56 (2005)

Docket Number:337/03
Party Name:Gorman, Judge Martin & Ors
Judge:Kearns J.
 
FREE EXCERPT

Murray CJ.

McGuinness J.

Kearns J. THE SUPREME COURT[2002 NO. 478JR 337/03]BETWEEN ANTHONY GEORGE GORMANAPPLICANT/RESPONDENT AND

JUDGE MARY MARTIN, HIS HONOUR JUDGE ANTHONY KENNEDY,

THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONSRESPONDENTS/APPELLANTSJUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Kearns delivered the 29th day of July, 2005

This is an appeal from the judgment and order of the High Court (Lavan J.) delivered on the 4th June, 2003, when an order of certiorari was granted in respect of the order made by the first named respondent sitting at Portlaoise District Court on the 19th October, 2001, which said order purported to return the applicant for trial to the Circuit Court. By its order, the High Court also quashed the order and sentence made by the second named respondent sitting at Portlaoise Circuit Court on the 12th December, 2001, when the accused pleaded guilty to the offence of assault causing serious harm and was sentenced by the second named respondent to eight years imprisonment. Having quashed these orders, the learned High Court judge declined to remit the matter to the district judge for further consideration, although it appears the applicant has served no part of the sentence imposed.

The background facts, as per the grounding affidavit of the applicant, are as follows:-

(1) The applicant was served with a summons in June 2001 alleging that he had assaulted one Mark Doyle causing him harm on the 27th January, 2001, at Portlaoise Prison, contrary to s.3 of the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act, 1997. The summons was returnable for Portlaoise District Court on the 7th September, 2001.

(2) The applicant was brought to Portlaoise District Court on the 7th September, 2001. The first named respondent was the presiding judge on the date in question. On that date, the gardaí charged the applicant with a further charge that, on 27th January, 2001, at Portlaoise Prison, the applicant caused serious harm to the said Mark Doyle, Contrary to s.4 of the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act, 1997. The applicant avers that on that occasion the State solicitor asked that the case be put back to the 14th September, 2001, which said application was granted.

(3) There were no court sittings on the 14th September, 2001, which had been declared a national day of mourning because of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in the United States some days previously. However, the applicant was thereafter brought to Mountrath District Court on the 18th September, 2001, on which date the State Solicitor asked for an extension of time to serve a Book of Evidence on the applicant. The first named respondent adjourned the matter to the 12th October, 2001, in Portlaoise Court. On that date, the applicant was again brought to Portlaoise District Court where the State Solicitor asked for an adjournment until the 19th October, 2001, for service of the Book of Evidence. On that date, the applicant discharged the solicitor who had been assigned to him under the Legal Aid scheme. The applicant was again brought to Portlaoise District Court on the 19th October, 2001, when he was served with the Book of Evidence. The State Solicitor asked that the applicant be returned for trial to the next sittings of the Circuit Court in Portlaoise. The applicant avers that he expected that Judge Martin would carry out a preliminary examination. The applicant further states that he told the judge that he wished to have a deposition taken of the alleged injured party, Mark Doyle. The District Judge refused and further stated that she was not dealing with the case but was sending it forward for trial. Judge Martin then returned the applicant for trial to the next sittings of Portlaoise Circuit Court. The applicant asked that Mr. Philip Meagher be assigned as his solicitor.

(4) It seems that legal representation was put in place for the applicant, because he avers in his affidavit that he met senior and junior counsel in the Circuit Court on the 11th December, 2001. He asserts, though without giving any details, that his senior counsel indicated that he did not have any defence to the case. He asserts that he then indicated to junior counsel that he considered that the procedures adopted prior to the return for trial had not been complied with in accordance with law. Presumably for this reason, giving that no other reason is advanced, the case was adjourned to the following day, the 12th December, 2001.

(5) On the 12th December, 2001, the applicant discharged both his solicitor and counsel. The presiding Circuit Court Judge, the second named respondent, asked the applicant if he wished to be represented by a different solicitor. The applicant stated that he was prepared to have the matter proceed. He then pleaded guilty to the offence of assault causing serious harm. A hearing followed at the conclusion of which the second named respondent sentenced the...

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