The legal obstacle to the prosecution of district court cases throughout the country has been lifted.
State solicitor, Frank Nyhan, told Judge Olann Kelleher at Cork District Court today that matters could go ahead in the usual manner for the time being.
Mr Nyhan said, “The DPP asked me to attend court today to say that Ms Justice Bolger sat yesterday (June 2) and issued a revised order to the judgement that has caused a problem, that it is not to take effect until June 16 and matters are to proceed as they were until June 16.”
It is anticipated that emergency amending legislation may be prepared in the meantime to address the issue where it was ruled that the law did not provide for sergeants or inspectors to present cases on behalf of gardaí bringing charges against defendants.
For the past couple of days, the High Court decision on the legal authority for the prosecution of cases meant that even defendants who were pleading guilty could not have the cases dealt with in court.
The matter arose out of a judgement by Ms Justice Bolger on May 31. In effect, it found that the only parties entitled to prosecute a case are the particular member of An Garda Síochána who brought the charge against the accused person, or a barrister or solicitor representing the DPP.
This would represent a change to the procedure used in district courts throughout the country. For many years Garda Inspectors presented cases at the district court. This was changed in recent years to allow for Garda Sergeants to perform this function of ‘Court Presenter’.
Ms Justice Marguerite Bolger ruled on her original decision on May 31 that a garda sergeant acting as a court presenter did not have a right of audience to prosecute a case against a defendant.