Noel Adams v District Judge Brigid Reilly and DPP

JurisdictionIreland
Judgment Date14 April 2005
Docket Number[2005 No. 170 JR]
Date14 April 2005
CourtHigh Court
[2005] IEHC 133

High Court

[2005 No. 170 JR]
Adams v. Reilly
Noel Adams
Applicant
and
District Judge Brigid Reilly and The Director of Public Prosecutions
Respondents

Cases mentioned in the report:-

Clune v. Director of Public Prosecutions [1981] I.L.R.M. 17.

Director of Public Prosecutions v. Special Criminal Court [1999] 1 I.R. 60; [1998] 2 I.L.R.M. 493.

Kiernan v. Director of Public Prosecutions [2005] IEHC 54, (Unreported, High Court, Macken J., 16th March, 2005).

Mellett v. Reilly (Unreported, Supreme Court, 26th April, 2002).

The People (Attorney General) v. McGlynn [1967] I.R. 232.

Criminal law - Judicial review - Application for leave - Application made mid-trial - Whether jurisdiction to entertain application mid-trial - Whether exceptional circumstances - Quia timet application.

Criminal trial - District Court - Adjournment mid-trial - Fair trial in due course of law - Whether prejudice established - European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950, article 6 - Constitution of Ireland 1937, Article 38.1.

Application for leave to seek judicial review

The facts of the case have been summarised in the headnote and are more fully set out in the judgment of Macken J., infra.

By application made ex parte the applicant sought leave to apply for an order of prohibition against the respondents in respect of criminal proceedings concerning the applicant. The application for leave was heard by the High Court (Macken J.) on the 21st February, 2005.

The applicant was charged with certain public order offences and the 1st February, 2005, was the date fixed for the hearing of the charges. On that date the prosecution case was heard and then because of time constraints the matter was adjourned by the first respondent to the 25th September, 2005, for the hearing of the defence case and for further submissions.

The applicant sought leave to seek an order of prohibition by way of judicial review on the basis that an adjournment of the case for a period of eight months from the close of the prosecution case to the commencement of the defence case, particularly in a summary trial, was so long that the applicant's entitlement to a fair trial in due course of law as provided for by the Constitution and by the European Convention could not be guaranteed.

Held by the High Court (Macken J.), in refusing to grant leave, that an application for judicial review should not be entertained mid-trial.

Director of Public Prosecutions v. Special Criminal Court [1999] 1 I.R. 60 and Mellett v. Reilly (Unreported, Supreme Court, 26th April, 2002) applied.

Obiter dicta, 1, that even if it could be said that relief by way of judicial review might be invoked in exceptional circumstances in the course of a trial, this could only arise in circumstances which were truly exceptional.

Director of Public Prosecutions v. Special Criminal Court [1999] 1 I.R. 60 and Mellett v. Reilly (Unreported, Supreme Court, 26th April, 2002) considered.

2. That the application was speculative and made quia timet and an order of prohibition against a Judge of the District Court was not available on that basis.

Clune v. Director of Public Prosecutions [1981] I.L.R.M. 17 followed. Mellett v. Reilly (Unreported, Supreme Court, 26th April, 2002) applied.

3. That actual or presumed prejudice was an essential ingredient to a successful claim that there has or will be an unfair trial. The time at which any possible prejudice to the applicant might have been established had not yet been reached.

Cur. adv. vult.

Macken J.

14th April, 2005

1 This is an application for leave to issue judicial review proceedings on behalf of the applicant in the following circumstances.

2 The applicant was arrested on the 23rd September, 2004 and charged with certain public order offences. The incident giving rise to these charges involved the applicant, other persons as well as the gardaí.

3 After certain preliminary court attendances a date was fixed for the hearing of the charges, namely the 1st February, 2005, at Kilmainham District Court at 2.00 p.m. Certain witnesses, both for the prosecution and for the defence, were in court and the matter was called on at approximately 3.00 p.m. According to the affidavit evidence before me, the applicant's solicitor indicated to the court that he was maintaining a plea of not guilty to the charges and that the matter was ready for hearing.

4 On inquiry from the first respondent which arose because of certain time constraints on her, it became clear that there would be four prosecution witnesses and two defence witnesses and that the matter might take approximately 40 minutes but possibly longer, in which event the said respondent indicated that the...

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