Human Rights and Equality Commission Granted Liberty to Appear Before Supreme Court in Rights of Accused Persons Case

Commission to Appear as Amicus Curiae in Case

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) has today been granted liberty by the Supreme Court to exercise its amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) function in a significant case relating to rights of accused persons.

The case (Director of Public Prosecutions v. JD) centres on a man charged with several offences, where only one (a count of endangerment) was an indictable offence. In November 2017, in Longford Circuit Court, the trial judge considered that fair procedures had not been observed by the Gardaí in failing to interview the man in relation to the indictable offence, and directed the jury to find him not guilty in respect of that charge (though not in respect of other matters).

The DPP successfully appealed the decision of the trial judge in the Court of Appeal, which held that the man had no entitlement to be detained and questioned, and concluded that the trial judge was not correct in law in directing the jury to return a verdict of not guilty.

The man appealed and the proceedings are now before the Supreme Court. As amicus curiae, the Commission will assist the Supreme Court by making submissions drawing on international and domestic law and practice in relation to fair trial rights.

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

The Commission applied to appear as amicus curiae in this case as it raises important issues on the protection of the fair trial rights of accused persons.”

 

ENDS/

 

For further information, please contact:

Karen Joynt, IHREC
0874482963
Karen.Joynt@ihrec.ie
Follow us on twitter @_IHREC

 

Editor’s Note

As the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is now formally involved in the proceedings, we are precluded from making any further comment as the matter is before the Supreme Court.

Where written submissions are made by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to the superior Courts in amicus curiae cases they will be made available on www.ihrec.ie after the case has been heard.

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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