Treacy v District Judge O'Donnell

JudgeMr Justice Brian McGovern
Judgment Date06 March 2008
Neutral Citation[2008] IEHC 60
CourtHigh Court
Date06 March 2008

[2008] IEHC 60


[No. 190 J.R./2007]
Treacy v District Judge O'Donnell







DPP v DOYLE 1994 2 IR 286



COURTS (NO 3) ACT 1986 S1(7)(a)



Procedure - Refusal of stay - Refusal of adjournment - Refusal to dismiss claim - Whether District Judge should have granted stay or adjournment of trial in light of High Court proceedings - Whether complaint made within prescribed period - Whether evidence based on hearsay - Whether sufficient evidence before court to find applicant guilty - Whether denied fair hearing and equality with respondent - The State (Healy) v Donoghue [1976] IR 325 applied - DPP v Doyle [1994] 2 IR 287 distinguished - Relief sought refused (2007/190JR - McGovern J - 6/3/2008) [2008] IEHC 60

Treacy v Judge O'Donnell

Facts: The applicant claimed by way of judicial review, seeking review of procedures adopted in a road traffic prosecution, inter alia that a District Court judge had failed wrongfully to accede to his application to dismiss his case, had failed to refuse a "Gary Doyle" order wrongfully and that he had been denied due process and fair procedures in the course of the proceedings. The applicant was a lay litigant.

Held by McGovern J., that the claims raised were vexatious. Valuable court time had been wasted by an obsessive and argumentative individual.

Reporter: E.F.


Mr Justice Brian McGovern delivered the 6th day of March, 2008


1. By order made on the 26th day of February, 2007, the High Court had granted the applicant leave to apply for Judicial Review for the reliefs set out at paragraph D. in the Statement of Grounds and on the grounds set forth in paragraph E. therein. In summary, the grounds were as follows:


(i) That the respondent failed to accede to the applicant's application to adjourn the case and refused a stay on the proceedings while the matter was being dealt with in the High Court.


(ii) The respondent refused an application to dismiss the case, although the time limit of six months had been exceeded.


(iii) The respondent refused an application to dismiss the case in the absence of evidence and on the basis that the charge was founded on hearsay.


(iv) The respondent refused a "Gary Doyle Order" when the application was made at the first opportunity.


(v) The respondent refused a copy of all witness statements on the 28th of November, 2006 prior to the District Court trial.


(vi) The respondent denied the applicant a fair hearing and due process. The applicant also sought various ancillary orders including an order quashing the judgment of the respondent given in the District Court in the matter of Garda Deirdre Ryan v. Kevin Treacy wherein he found the applicant guilty of careless driving. The applicant also sought various mandatory orders as set out in the Statement of Grounds and a recommendation that the Attorney General's scheme be applied.

The facts

2. The hearing in the District Court took place on the 28th of November, 2006 and was recorded by an official stenographer retained by the applicant.


3. At the commencement of the proceedings, the applicant applied for a stay in the light of High Court proceedings bearing record no. 2006 no. 652 J.R. These were the proceedings for Judicial Review arising out of a finding by District Judge Aeneas McCarthy that the applicant was guilty of contempt in the face of the Court, on the 31st of May 2006. Those Judicial Review proceedings have been heard by this Court in conjunction with this application.


4. The applicant did obtain a stay on his contempt conviction, pending the determination of the Judicial Review on that point. He did not obtain a stay relation to the hearing of the Road Traffic Act prosecution. The transcript of the hearing in the District Court on the 28th of November, 2006 establishes that the prosecutor informed the Court that there was only a stay on the District Court committal proceedings and not the Road Traffic prosecution. In the course of this hearing, I have been presented with a number of orders of the High Court and in none of them does it appear that a stay has been granted in relation to the Road Traffic Act prosecution. Indeed it appears that on the morning of the 28th of November, 2006, the applicant applied to the High Court for a stay and was refused.


5. The applicant also sought an adjournment of the hearing in the District Court to await the orders of the High Court in another application which he had and which was due for hearing on the 12th of December, 2006.


6. The respondent refused an adjournment for two reasons. In the first place, no stay had been ordered, and secondly, a witness had travelled from the United Kingdom to give evidence. When the District Judge told the applicant that the matter was proceeding to hearing, the applicant said he wanted it adjourned on another ground, namely that he had not got a "Gary Doyle Order". This was the first time the applicant had sought such an order. The respondent took the view that the applicant was too late in applying for a "Gary Doyle Order" at that time, and that he was not granting an adjournment on that basis.


7. In my view, the respondent was perfectly entitled to proceed with the hearing on the basis that there was no stay and he also correctly used his discretion to proceed on the basis that there was a witness in Court who has travelled from the United Kingdom for the hearing of what was a routine Road Traffic offence.


8. The applicant had been in Court on the 31st of May, 2006 when a date for hearing was fixed and the first time he applied for a "Gary Doyle Order" or for witness statements was at the hearing on the 28th of November, 2006.


9. Counsel for the respondent argues that this was a summary prosecution and the facts were not complex. The case could be readily distinguished from DPP v. Doyle [1994] 2 I.R. 287, and the principles set out by O'Higgins C.J. in The State (Healy) v. Donoghue [1976] I.R. 325 at 350 applied. I accept that submission. In the hearing before me, the applicant did not show any prejudice to him on account of the unwillingness of the respondent to make a "Gary Doyle Order" or to stay the proceedings.


10. In my view, the respondent dealt with both issues fairly and within the limits of his discretion and he also acted within jurisdiction.


11. I therefore refuse the applicant's claim for relief on the basis of refusing a stay and refusing to adjourn the case.


12. The Road Traffic offence alleged against the applicant occurred on the 30th of August, 2004. An application for a summons was made on the 17th of February, 2005, and was therefore within the six month time limit required by s.10 of the Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851 which requires that a complaint be made within six months from the offence. Section 1 (7) (a) of the Courts (3) Act, 1986 provides that the provision in any enactment passed before that Act relating to the time for the making of a complaint, shall apply, with any necessary modifications in relation to an application...

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1 cases
  • Tracey v O'Donnell and the DPP
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 30 April 2020
    ...dated the 30 th day of April, 2020 Introduction 1 This is an appeal against a judgment and order of McGovern J. in the High Court ( [2008] IEHC 60). In a written judgment dated the 6 th March, 2008, the appellant was refused judicial 2 The appellant’s application arose from a prosecution ag......

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