Court of Appeal Rules in Criminal Appeal in Case Relating to Rights of Accused Persons

A ruling in a significant case on the rights of accused persons and procedural safeguards required for a fair trial was handed down by the Court of Appeal yesterday.

The case (DPP v RK and LM), in which the Commission was amicus curiae (friend of the court), centred around the belief evidence of a Detective Chief Superintendent under section 3(2) of the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act, 1972.  The case involved an appeal by the DPP following the acquittal by the Special Criminal Court of two men charged with IRA membership.

The Court’s ruling, delivered yesterday by Mr Justice Birmingham, held that the Special Criminal Court ought to have admitted the belief evidence and then proceeded to consider what weight, if any, was to be attached to it.  The Court went on to dismiss the DPP’s appeal and ruled that the case will not be re-tried.

Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

“The Commission welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the Court’s deliberations on this important trial focused on the procedural safeguards required for a fair trial.

“This judgment brings further clarity in relation to the admissibility of belief evidence given in trials under the Offences Against the State Act.”

ENDS/

For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, Communications Manager

0870697095

bdawson@ihrec.ie

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Editor’s Note

The Commission’s written submissions made to the Court of Criminal Appeal in the proceedings are available at the following link:

https://www.ihrec.ie/documents/legal-submissions-dpp-v-rk-lm/

The amicus curiae function of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

The Commission’s functions under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 include that of applying for liberty to appear as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) before the superior courts in proceedings that involve, or are concerned with, the human rights or equality rights of any person.

Section 10 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act sets out the functions of the Commission and Section 10(2)(e) provides that the IHREC shall have a function:

“to apply to the High Court or the Supreme Court for liberty to appear before the High Court or the Supreme Court, as the case may be, as amicus curiae in proceedings before that Court that involve or are concerned with the human rights or equality rights of any person and to appear as such an amicus curiae on foot of such liberty being granted (which liberty each of the said courts is hereby empowered to grant in its absolute discretion).”

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

 

 

 

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