The Perils of E-commerce

A MAN stopped for drink driving by Gardai blamed a breathalyser kit he bought on the internet for giving a false reading. James Fitzpatrick, with an address at 210 Phoenix View Apartments, James Street, Dublin, appeared recently before Kildare district court. Fitzpatrick, who represented himself, told Judge Desmond Zaidan his father bought an alcohol tester […]

Just A Phone Call Away

Garda John O’Toole needed a favour. Phone records necessary for a criminal inquiry were trapped in bureaucratic hell, and the investigation was going nowhere. He phoned his brother-in-law in Garda HQ, asking if he could speed things up. The chief had signed the authorisations, but nothing was happening at the phone company. DI Nyham said […]

Any Other Business

It’s going to be an interesting week in Dáil Éireann. Desperate not to cut back on their holiday time,the government has opted instead to cut debating time, and plans to guillotine several bills into law by Friday. Among the highlights: The blasphemy clause in the Defamation bill, making it illegal to say naughty things if […]

There’s Always One

The benefit of the doubt (or if you prefer, the presumption of innocence) is one of the longest established principles in the common law. At it’s most blunt, the principle is expressed in Blackstone’s formulation: “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”. Populist cheerleaders for tough policing often focus on those […]

The Accused

There’s a stairwell in the middle of the courtroom, linking the district court to the nearby Bridewell Garda station. Guards lean against the balcony as they listen to the cases. When he emerges from the tunnel, his body language defines fatigue. He moves to the bench in front of the stairwell, while lawyers shuffle papers. […]