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Order prohibiting public speaking in town breached requirement of legal certainty

By: Mark Tottenham BL

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High Court grants order quashing an order of the District Court prohibiting the applicant 'from engaging in public speaking and recording anywhere within the environs' of a specified town, on the grounds that: (a) in making orders concerning 'anti-social behaviour' the District Court had to keep within the bounds of the relevant legislation in conformity with the constitution; and (b) in prohibiting all public speaking, and not just loud, persistent, aggressive and offensive speech, the District Court had breached the requirement of legal certainty, and prohibited activity that was not, of itself, objectionable.

Criminal law - anti-social behaviour order provisions - Criminal Justice Act, 2006 - whether provisions constitutional - power of Gardai to issue a behaviour warning - s. 114(1) - application for District Court order prohibiting person from engaging in certain defined behaviour - order of court prohibiting person 'from engaging in public speaking and recording anywhere within the environs' of specified town - breach of order - criminal offence - judicial review of orders - whether order exceeded jurisdiction of District Court - acts not anti-social - right to freedom of expression - right to trial in due course of law - earlier 'Adult Behaviour Warnings' - statutory framework - whether applicant failed to make full disclosure - ex parte application - whether material non-disclosure - whether proceedings improperly constituted - availability of alternative remedy - nature of power vested in District Court - whether court exceeded its jurisdiction in making order - definition of anti-social behaviour - power of Gardai to issue 'behaviour warning' - requirement of legal certainty - right to communicate - proportionality.

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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