Judge rules rape trial can’t pro­ceed

CASE COL­LAPSES OVER ‘PRI­VACY IS­SUE’

Bray People - - NEWS -

A RAPE trial has col­lapsed af­ter the al­leged vic­tim re­fused to give con­sent for the re­lease of ‘sen­si­tive per­sonal in­for­ma­tion’ held by so­cial work­ers.

The ac­cused man had pleaded not guilty at the Cen­tral Crim­i­nal Court to rap­ing the woman at a place in County Wick­low in May 2009.

Be­fore rul­ing on the is­sue of the in­for­ma­tion held by so­cial work­ers, Mr Jus­tice Patrick McCarthy asked coun­sel for the State and the de­fen­dant if there were any is­sues with re­spect to dis­clo­sure re­lat­ing to the ‘re­cent con­tro­versy of tele­phone record­ings.’

He went on to say that the Pres­i­dent of the High Court had is­sued guid­ance on how judges should raise the is­sue at the out­set of crim­i­nal tri­als or as early as pos­si­ble.

‘In light of the po­ten­tial, one feels it is ap­pro­pri­ate to can­vass the is­sue. Judges have wel­comed the as­sis­tance of the Pres­i­dent of the High Court,’ he said.

How­ever bar­ris­ters told the court that in this case they didn't be­lieve the is­sue of record­ings of tele­phone con­ver­sa­tions at garda sta­tions would be an is­sue.

Gi­ol­liasa O’Lideadha SC, de­fend­ing, went on to say that there was a sep­a­rate and more sig­nif­i­cant is­sue around the dis­clo­sure of doc­u­men­tary ma­te­rial de­tail­ing per­sonal in­for­ma­tion about the com­plainant held by agencies.

In the ab­sence of the jury, coun­sel for the agencies told the court that while they were the holder of the in­for­ma­tion, they were not the con­troller and that the con­troller was the com­plainant.

Coun­sel said they had a duty to the court to in­form it that there was ma­te­rial that should be seen by the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions, which can then as­sess its rel­e­vance to the crim­i­nal mat­ter at hand.

They fur­ther added that it is ma­te­rial which the de­fence should have.

Hav­ing heard sub­mis­sions, Mr. Jus­tice McCarthy said that if there was a risk of an un­fair trial the trial could not pro­ceed.

He ruled that this case could not pro­ceed be­cause of the com­plainant’s wish to main­tain her pri­vacy.

Fol­low­ing the rul­ing prose­cu­tion coun­sel, Paul Burns SC, said the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions was en­ter­ing a nolle pros­e­qui or ‘do not pros­e­cute’ in the case.

Mr. Jus­tice McCarthy dis­charged the jury af­ter telling them that the trial could not pro­ceed.

No ev­i­dence had been heard in the case be­fore the jury.

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