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Search warrant was valid where the lands were adequately described

By: Hannah Godfrey BL

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Court of Appeal allows DPP's appeal on a point of law where the Circuit Court had directed an acquittal after ruling evidence obtained on foot of a search warrant to be inadmissible, holding that: (a) an adequate rather than a perfect description of a premises or lands was required for a search warrant to be valid; (b) the lands were adequately described in the impugned search warrant insofar as they identified the size of the land, the fact that there was a quarry and sheds on it and that it was in two named townlands; (c) the trial judge was therefore in error in deeming the evidence obtained on foot of the warrant to be inadmissible; and (d) the parties should make submissions as to whether or not the appropriate order would be to order a retrial.

Appeal by DPP on a question of law from acquittal by direction of the trial judge - appeal brought pursuant to s. 23(1) and (3) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2010 - 18 counts of alleged offences under the Waste Management Acts 1996 to 2011 - evidence obtained in purported reliance upon defective warrant evidence deemed inadmissible by Circuit Court - such evidence was the only evidence relating to some counts on the indictment and was also central to the decision by the trial judge to give a direction in respect of all counts - whether, in ruling inadmissible all the evidence obtained following the search carried out in purported reliance upon the search warrant, the trial judge erroneously excluded compelling evidence.

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