Maguire v The Superintendent of Letterkenny Garda Station

JurisdictionIreland
CourtHigh Court
JudgeMs. Justice Donnelly
Judgment Date11 February 2019
Neutral Citation[2019] IEHC 69
Date11 February 2019
Docket Number[RECORD NO. 2017 579 JR]

[2019] IEHC 69

THE HIGH COURT

JUDICIAL REVIEW

Donnelly J.

[RECORD NO. 2017 579 JR]

BETWEEN
CIARAN MAGUIRE
APPLICANT
AND
THE SUPERINTENDENT OF LETTERKENNY GARDA STATION

AND

THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS
RESPONDENTS

Judicial review – Disclosure of information – Fair procedures – Applicant seeking disclosure of information – Whether there was an explicit and unambiguous duty imposed upon the respondents to provide the applicant with the information which he sought on the grounds of fair procedures

Facts: The applicant, Mr Maguire, was arrested on foot of a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by an issuing judicial authority of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. He was sought by the Northern Ireland authorities for the purpose of prosecuting him in respect of two offences. Judicial review proceedings were brought because the applicant sought a variety of information arising from his detention in Letterkenny Garda Station on the 18th and 19th June, 2015. It was the applicant’s case that the prosecution in Northern Ireland was predicated, at least in part, upon evidence gleaned while he was in Garda custody at Letterkenny, Co. Donegal in June of 2015. The applicant’s solicitor had written four letters seeking disclosure of information, inter alia, custody record, details of any samples taken or items seized, copies of statements made or taken in the course of the investigation and any audio or video recordings made in the course of detention. The applicant sought the information prior to the hearing of the proceedings concerning the EAW in order to advance his opposition to that request for surrender. He relied upon fair procedures and the right to due process. He also relied upon the provisions of the EU Directive 13/2012, which he submitted granted him a right to the information.

Held by the High Court that the applicant had not established that there was an explicit and unambiguous duty imposed upon the respondents, the Superintendent of Letterkenny Garda Station and the Director of Public Prosecutions, to provide him with the information which he sought in these proceedings on the grounds of fair procedures. The Court rejected the claim made that the information must be provided to him under the provisions of the EU 13/2012 Directive. The Court was satisfied that the applicant’s submission, that the transfer of evidence pursuant to the mutual assistance requests to the Police Service of Northern Ireland amounted to an unconstitutional interference with these proceedings, was not grounded in the facts of the case and also had no basis in law.

The Court held that it would refuse the reliefs sought by the applicant.

Reliefs refused.

JUDGMENT of Ms. Justice Donnelly delivered on the 11th day of February, 2019
1

The applicant in these judicial review proceedings has been arrested on foot of a European Arrest Warrant (‘EAW’) issued by an issuing judicial authority of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. He is sought by the Northern Ireland authorities for the purpose of prosecuting him in respect of two offences. These are alleged offences of attempted murder of a serving member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland on the 18th June, 2015 and possession of explosive substances with intent to endanger life on the same date.

2

In the EAW, it is alleged that the perpetrators of those offences were disturbed at the scene and that the police in Northern Ireland observed two vehicles travelling in convoy at high speed away from the location of the incident. It is alleged that those vehicles crossed into Co. Donegal. It is further alleged that two vehicles were later stopped in this jurisdiction by members of An Garda Síochána. This applicant was the driver of one of the vehicles which were stopped, namely a Volkswagen Passat. It is alleged that this was one of the vehicles that was pursued by the police in Northern Ireland.

3

It is stated in the EAW that the applicant was arrested under s. 30 of the offences Against the State, Act, 1939 (‘the Act of 1939’) on suspicion of membership of an illegal organisation and taken to Letterkenny Garda Station in Co. Donegal. There, his clothing was seized and photographs, fingerprints and buccal swabs were taken. The applicant was interviewed by members of An Garda Síochána after he was cautioned. He was subsequently released from this detention without charge. Various items are alleged to have been found in the cars. A low amount of RDX, an explosive compound, was found on the passenger front well mats of both cars and in other locations in the vehicles.

4

The present judicial review proceedings have been brought because the applicant seeks a variety of information arising from his detention in Letterkenny Garda Station on the 18th and 19th June, 2015. It is the applicant's case that the prosecution in Northern Ireland is predicated, at least in part, upon evidence gleaned while he was in Garda custody at Letterkenny, Co. Donegal in June of 2015. The applicant's solicitor had written four letters seeking disclosure of information, inter alia, custody record, details of any samples taken or items seized, copies of statements made or taken in the course of the investigation and any audio or video recordings made in the course of detention.

5

The applicant seeks the information prior to the hearing of the proceedings concerning the EAW in order to advance his opposition to that request for surrender. He relies upon fair procedures and the right to due process. He also relies upon the provisions of the EU Directive 13/2012 (‘the EU Directive’), which he submits grants him a right to this information.

Reliefs sought
6

The applicant sought the following reliefs in his amended statement grounding the application for judicial review:

(i) An order of mandamus requiring the first respondent to reply to the applicant's request for information in relation to and arising from his detention in Letterkenny Garda Station on 18th/19th June, 2015 and to furnish him with information to which he is entitled.

(ii) An order of mandamus requiring the first respondent to provide the information requested by the applicant pursuant to the provisions of EU Directive 13/2012.

Grounds upon which relief is sought
7

In relation to the custody record, the applicant relied upon the statutory regulations which require a person to be provided with a custody record upon request within twelve months of ceasing to be in custody. The custody record was in fact provided to the applicant prior to the hearing of this application.

8

In relation to the other matters of which he sought information, the applicant asserted that fair procedures and the right to due process dictated that he was entitled to advance his case against surrender on the European arrest warrant. The applicant claimed an entitlement to access all information that may be relevant.

9

The applicant also pleaded that withholding from him information and evidence relating to the extremely serious allegations against him involved a breach of Article 6 of the EU Directive. It was pleaded that there was a failure to provide information in sufficient detail so as to safeguard the fairness of the proceedings and the effective exercise of his rights including the right to informed legal advice in preparing for the EAW process. The applicant pleaded that if surrendered in the absence of information, he could not enforce the disclosure of such information if being prosecuted in Northern Ireland. The applicant pleaded he would be deprived of factual matters relevant to his defence.

10

The applicant pleaded that this conduct amounted to a significant breach of fair procedures and was prohibited by the EU Directive and by Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The applicant also pleaded that the equality of arms principle required that he be granted access to the information requested. The applicant also relied upon Article 7(1) of the said Directive.

11

The applicant pleaded that in light of the potential consequences arising from an order of surrender, the failure to disclose the requested information represented a potential interference with the applicant's fundamental rights as guaranteed by Bunreacht na hÉireann and it may also impact upon the rights under the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Affidavit of the applicant
12

The applicant swore an affidavit saying that he was arrested by members of An Garda Síochána near the village of Killygordon in the Lifford area of Co. Donegal on the 18th June, 2015. He said that following his arrest he was detained in custody at Letterkenny Garda Station where he was interviewed and obliged to provide forensic samples. He says that his intended prosecution in Northern Ireland is predicated on evidence that was procured while he was in Garda custody in Co. Donegal. He says that is apparent from the contents of the European Arrest Warrant. He says that he requires sight of the evidence gathered in the course of his arrest and detention in order to ground an objection to his surrender.

13

The applicant referred to the efforts he had made through his solicitor to procure information from An Garda Síochána through correspondence with the superintendent at Letterkenny Garda Station. He said he sought a copy of the custody record that was opened in his case, together with a précis of the case against him, details of any samples taken or items seized, copies of any statements taken in the course of the investigation there and copy of any audio or video recordings made during the course of his detention.

14

The letter of the 2nd May, 2017 was exhibited in which his solicitor sought these items. He also exhibits a number of replies which he received which were in essence holding replies. He also wrote to the DPP in respect of certain matters, and the DPP...

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