Jackson v DPP; Walsh v DPP

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMr. Justice Quirke
Judgment Date08 December 2004
Neutral Citation[2004] IEHC 380
CourtHigh Court
Docket Number[2003 No. 340 J.R.]
Date08 December 2004

[2004] IEHC 380

THE HIGH COURT

[2003 No. 340 J.R.]
[2004] IEHC 380
[2003 No. 479 J.R.]
JACKSON v. DPP; WALSH v. DPP
JUDICIAL REVIEW

BETWEEN

JASON JACKSON
APPLICANT

AND

THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS
RESPONDENT

AND

BETWEEN

ANTHONY WALSH
APPLICANT

AND

THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS
RESPONDENT

Citations:

CRIMINAL JUSTICE (PUBLIC ORDER) ACT 1994 S15

CONSTITUTION ART 38.1

BARKER V WINGO 1972 407 US 514

P (P) V DPP 2000 1 IR 403

F (B) V DPP 2001 1 IR 656

C (P) V DPP 1999 2 IR 25

Synopsis:

CRIMINAL LAW

Delay

Right to trial within reasonable time - Reasons for delay - Whether inordinate and inexcusable delay in prosecuting applicant - Whether trial should be prevented where State have delayed in bringing prosecution - Whether State authorities under special duty to secure speedy trial where child accused - Whether prejudice can be presumed - Prohibition granted - (2003/340JR and 2003/479JR- Quirke J - 8/12/2004) [2004] IEHC 380

Jackson v DPP and Walsh v DPP

Both the applicants had been charged with an offences of violent disorder allegedly committed on a date in March, 2000. Various delays had arisen in the prosecution of the applicants and the applicants initiated judicial review proceedings seeking orders of prohibition preventing the respondent from proceeding with the prosecution. Both applicants contended that the delay on the part of the respondent had caused the applicants specific prejudice and was in violation of their right to a trial with reasonable expedition in accordance with the provisions of Article 38.1 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, 1937. In addition it was submitted that as the applicants were children or young persons at the time of the alleged commission of the offences there was a special duty upon the State to bring them to trial speedily. On behalf of the respondent it was argued that even if there had been culpable delay, the rights of the applicants were not outweighed by that of the community to have serious crime prosecuted.

Held by Quirke J in granting the orders of prohibition sought. The explanations tendered on behalf of the respondent to explain the delay were wholly inadequate. There had been a degree of prejudice caused to the applicants by reason of the inordinate period of time that had passed. Where a child or young person had been charged with a criminal offence there was a special duty upon the State authorities to ensure a speedy trial. Although no specific prejudice had been proved, a degree of prejudice may be presumed having regard to the age of each applicant at the material times. Both applicants were entitled to the relief sought.

Reporter: R.F.

JUDGMENT of
Mr. Justice Quirke
1

delivered the 8th day of December, 2004.

2

By Order of the High Court (O'Donovan J.) dated 19th day of May, 2003, Jason Jackson was given leave to apply by way of judicial review for an order of prohibition preventing the respondent from further proceeding with his prosecution in respect of an offence of violent disorder with other persons contrary to the provisions of s. 15 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act,1994. The offence was allegedly committed on 6th March, 2000, at Swords Road, Santry in Dublin.

3

Jason Jackson was also given leave to seek various other reliefs ancillary to and consequential upon the substantive relief sought.

4

By order of the High Court (Peart J.) dated the 30th day of June, 2003, Anthony Walsh was given leave to apply by way of judicial review for an order of prohibition preventing the respondent from proceeding with the prosecution of Anthony Walsh in respect of charges including the commission of an offence on 6th March, 2003, at Swords Road, Santry, Co. Dublin of violent disorder contrary to the provisions of s. 15 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act,1994.

5

Anthony Walsh was also given leave to seek further reliefs ancillary to and consequential upon the substantive relief sought.

6

The grounds which are relied upon by both Jason Jackson and Anthony Walsh in support of their respective claims are the same that is:-

7

(a) that culpable delay on the part of the respondent in prosecuting the applicants in respect of the charges preferred against them was so excessive as to be sufficient, by itself, to warrant an order prohibiting the trials of both applicants,

8

(b) that the delay on the part of the respondent in prosecuting the applicants comprises a violation of the applicants' rights to trials with reasonable expedition in due course of law in accordance with the provisions of Article 38.1 of Bunreacht na hEireann, and

9

(c) that the capacity of the applicants to defend themselves in respect of the charges preferred against them has been impaired by reason of specific prejudice caused or contributed to by the delay in the prosecution of the applicants in respect of the offences concerned.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Jason Jackson
10

1. Jason Jackson was born on 25th February, 1985. He was fifteen years old when the offences with which he has been charged are alleged to have occurred on 6th March, 2000.

11

2. On 18th April, 2000, Jason Jackson was arrested in respect of another reported offence and whilst detained at Santry garda station was questioned by Garda Suzanne Byrne in relation to the circumstances which gave rise to the offence with which he has been charged in these proceedings.

12

3. Jason Byrne made a cautioned and signed statement in relation to those events and was released from custody without charge having been advised that a file in relation to the matters concerned would be sent to the respondent's office.

13

4. On 26th October, 2001, Garda Suzanne Byrne swore information before the Dublin Metropolitan District Court for the purpose of obtaining an arrest warrant for Jason Jackson in relation to the charges which are the subject of these proceedings. The arrest warrant was issued on that date.

14

5. On 22nd November, 2001, Jason Jackson was arrested by Garda Suzanne Byrne in respect of the offences which are the subject of these proceedings and was charged with the commission of those offences. Thereafter, he was admitted to station bail and attended the Dublin Metropolitan District Children's Court on 20thDecember, 2001. Thereafter, on 14th February, 2002, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest by reason of his late arrival.

15

6. It was expected that the Book of Evidence would be served upon Jason Jackson on the 14th February. It was not available on that date. It had not been prepared. On 10th May and on 21st May, 2002, Jason Jackson attended in court. The Book of Evidence was not served upon him. When the Book of Evidence was not served on 21st May, the matter was struck out by the presiding judge in the District Court.

16

7. On 6th March, 2003, Jason Jackson was arrested, charged and brought before the Dublin Metropolitan District Court sitting at Bridewell. A Book of Evidence was finally served upon him on that date and he was sent forward for trial to the Dublin Circuit Court.

17

8. Garda Suzanne Byrne averred in evidence that this was her first major prosecution. She was dealing with it on her own. She said that this contributed to the delay in forwarding the file to the Chief State Solicitor's Office. She received directions from the respondent on 12th April, 2001, but by reason of medical difficulties in July 2001 and her marriage on 5th September, 2001, (which caused her to be out of work for three and a half weeks) she did not apply for an arrest warrant against Jason Jackson until 26th October, 2001. She arrested Jason Jackson on 22nd November, 2001.

18

9. Mr. Ray Briscoe a solicitor in the Chief Prosecution Solicitor's office averred that the office of the Chief State Solicitor has been understaffed throughout the time material to these proceedings. This understaffing resulted in industrial action which occurred at the end of 2001.

19

No other explanation was offered by way of evidence to explain the delay on the part of the prosecuting authorities in preparing and serving a Book of Evidence upon Jason Jackson until March of 2003 which was precisely three years after the date of the commission of the alleged offence.

20

10. On 19th May, 2003, Jason Jackson was given liberty to seek the relief which he has sought herein.

ANTHONY WALSH
21

1. Anthony Walsh was born on 4th August, 1983. He was sixteen years of age on th 6th March, 2000. On that date an incident occurred which has given rise to the charges which have been preferred against him.

22

2. On 26th October, 2001, a warrant for the arrest of Anthony Walsh was obtained from the Dublin Metropolitan District Court. It provided that he had committed violent disorder with other persons on 6th March, 2000, at Swords Road, Santry, in the city of Dublin. That warrant was never executed. Anthony Walsh was arrested for the first time in relation to the alleged offences on 6th March, 2003.

23

3. On various dates between 17th January, 2002and 30th March, 2002, Mr. Pól O'Murchú who was a solicitor acting on behalf of Anthony Walsh, wrote to various garda stations (including Santry garda station) enquiring as to whether there were any outstanding warrants in existence or in the possession of the gardaí relating to Anthony Walsh. Mr O'Murchú requested that any warrants which were in existence should be executed or re-entered in respect of Anthony Walsh (who was then in custody in respect of other offences with which he had been charged or convicted).

24

Mr. O'Murchú received a reply from Santry garda station indicating that on 6th March, 2002, there were two outstanding warrants in existence in relation to Anthony Walsh. No action appears to have been taken to execute those warrants or to take any other steps in relation to them.

25

4. Between 6th March, 2000 and 6thMarch, 2003, Anthony Walsh spent almost 15 months in custody in respect of various offences. He...

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