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Suspects not entitled to information relating to their detention in European Arrest Warrant proceedings

By: Colm Scott Byrne BL

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Court of Appeal dismisses appeals and upholds the decision of the High Court in two linked cases arising out of the same factual background refusing to grant orders of mandamus requiring the first respondent to reply to the appellants' requests for information in relation to and arising from their detention following their arrest under a European Arrest Warrant, on the grounds that: (a) the purpose for seeking the materials was not in order to provide an evidential basis for objection to surrender but in hope that some material or information would emerge from the detention which could lead to a possible objection on the basis of a breach of an unspecified constitutional right; (b) the trial judge was entirely correct in finding that the appellants had not demonstrated that there was an explicit and unambiguous duty on the respondents to provide the information to the appellants on the grounds of fair procedures in advance of arguments to be advanced of the European Arrest Warrant proceedings; (c) the trial judge was correct in holding that there is no entitlement as of right to be provided with the recordings of interviews; and (d) the trial judge was correct in finding that there was no evidence that the appellants’ rights under European Union law would not be available to them in the requesting State should they be surrendered.

Kennedy J (nem diss): Judicial review - European Arrest Warrant (EAW) - appeal of a decision of the High Court refusing to grant relief by way of judicial review - appellants sought orders of mandamus requiring the first respondent to reply to the applicants' requests for information in relation to and arising from their detention following their arrest under a European Arrest Warrant - appellants were arrested on March 23 2017 on foot of a EAW issued for the purposes of prosecuting them for the alleged offences of attempted murder of a member of the PSNI and possession of explosive substances with intent to endanger life - offences are alleged to have been committed on 18th June 2015 in Northern Ireland - later that night the appellants were arrested in Donegal pursuant to s.30 of the Offences Against the State Act, 1939 on suspicion of membership of an unlawful organisation - the appellants’ clothing was seized, and photographs, fingerprints and buccal swabs were taken and the appellants were interviewed and later released without charge - the appellants sought disclosure of information gathered during their detention on 18th June 2015 including details of any samples taken or items seized, copies of statements made during the investigation and any audio or video recordings made in the course of detention, in order to advance their opposition to the EAW proceedings - whether the appellants are entitled to have access to the materials sought - neither appellant had averred to or formulated a breach of any constitutional right - purpose of seeking materials was purely speculative in the hope of unearthing a possible objection - whether the recordings of interviews should have been provided to the appellants - there is no legal basis for the gardai to have provided the recordings - whether there was no evidence that the appellants’ rights under the Directive 13/2012 Regarding the Right to Information in Criminal Proceedings would not be available to them in the requesting State should they be surrendered - appeal 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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