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No culpable in delay in prosecution of offences allegedly committed when applicant was a minor

By: Ian Fitzharris BL

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High Court, in judicial review proceedings, refuses an application for prohibition of the prosecution of serious criminal offences against the applicant allegedly committed by him when he was a minor, on the grounds that: (1) there is no culpable prosecutorial delay in the prosecution of the offences; (2) the public interest in trying serious criminal offences outweighs any prejudice suffered by the applicant as a result of him not being prosecuted during his minority; and (3) the proceedings constitute an impermissible collateral attack on an unchallenged order of the District Court, in circumstances where the applicant failed to appeal that order to the Circuit Court and is now out of time to do so.

Judicial review - criminal - application for prohibition in respect of prosecution of alleged offences whilst applicant was a minor - prosecutorial delay - whether prosecution now unfair - factual chronology - European arrest warrant - applicant extradited back to jurisdiction after 15 months - legal principles applicable to the prosecution of minors - right to a speedy trial - culpable delay - age of majority obtained during absence from jurisdiction - nature of Garda investigation - balance of justice - reporting restrictions can still be imposed by trial judge - sentencing Judge can have regard to fact that applicant was a minor at the material time, if he is convicted - probation report still available - conviction cannot be expunged from his record - public interest in protection of serious offences - admissions made - prejudice to applicant outweighed by public interest in trying him - application unsuccessful in District Court but applicant failed to lodge an appeal to Circuit Court - collateral attack - same issues already determined before District Court and applicant now out of time to appeal - application dismissed.

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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