Skip to content

Tag Archives: due process

Katrina Brolly

There are days when the workings of the State confound me. No, this isn’t about NAMA, now passed by both houses of the Oireachtas, and – barring referral to the Supreme Court – set to become law within a week, as soon as President McAleese signs it. Instead, it’s about a case resolved on the […]

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 […]

Frankness

I haven’t written too much about the new Criminal Justice Act, signed into law by the president last week. In case you missed it too, hearsay has been upgraded to evidence, as has the opinion of a Garda. Politicians dislike speaking out against attacks on civil rights in this country. Too many people are afraid […]

Cracked

‘It shall be a defence to proceedings for an offence under this section for the defendant to prove that a reasonable person would find genuine literary, artistic, political, scientific, or academic value in the matter to which the offence relates.’ A few days I suggested, somewhat provocatively, a cracker of an idea to protest I […]

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 […]

Full Disclosure

The redress board worked upstairs, and I worked downstairs at the tribunal. Sometimes, I’d meet a survivor as I took a cigarette break. They’d tell me what was going on upstairs was unbelievable. I’d tell them that as much as I’d love to hear it, I was a journalist, and forbidden by law from talking […]

Cleaned Out

A circuit court judge slashed a littering fine against a widow who left tin cans in a bag at a recycling bank because it was already full to the brim. ‘I thought I was doing the right thing by recycling at this site,’ the woman told the Circuit Court in Portlaoise today. She said she […]

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. […]