Brief history/description of the case: Road traffic accident
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Justice Minister unveils referendum plan to tackle log jam after it emerged that some cases referred now won't be heard until mid-2017
AN AUTUMN referendum will pave the way for a new Court of Appeal that will stand between the High Courts and the Supreme Court., it emerged yesterday, as the Chief Justice Susan Denham launched a devastating critique of the highest court in the land, where some listed cases won't be heard until 2017.
Ms Denham described the situation in the Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeal as "unsustainable" and "untenable". She told a Law Society seminar attended by the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter: "It cannot be defended. "The most recent appeals from the general list that have been given dates were certified in July 2008. "All other things being equal and without any measure of priority, an appeal certified as ready yesterday is in danger of not being given a date until mid-2017 effectively a four-and-a-half year waiting time."
Mr Shatter confirmed that the Government was working toward a referendum on the new Court of Appeal before the end of the year. It may also encompass other constitutional changes, including an amendment to allow for the establishment of a distinct and separate system of family courts to streamline family law court processes and make them more efficient and less costly. Other changes being considered by the Government are on the judicial declaration or oath.
Mr Shatter said: "The issue concerns whether there should be a secular oath and, if so, whether this should be instead of the religious oath that is currently set out in Article 34 or as an alternative to that oath.”
The Government is also examining the referral of bills to the Supreme Court by the President under Article 26 of the Constitution. The criticism of the delays in cases being heard in the highest court by Ms Denham was unusually trenchant,
She said: "In 1968 there were seven high courts and one Supreme Court. In 2013, there are 36 High Courts and two courts possible in the Supreme Court - two divisions of the Supreme Court.
"The only appellate court for these civil cases is the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is required to process in two courts appeals from 36 High Courts. "This creates a bottleneck in the Irish courts system. The Supreme Court does not have the capacity to process promptly the volume of civil cases appealed from the High Court."
Ms Denham said that delays in cases being heard impacted on the economy. "Speedy resolution of disputes is important in a successful economy. In particular, at this time, there are many commercial cases before the courts." But the landmark address also carried a warning that it was critically important that any changes envisaged or planned for the courts do not impinge on the independence of the judiciary. "Any person in the State, who wishes to bring a case against, let us say, the Government, a minister, a State agency such as the HSE, a very powerful person… can commence their proceedings.
"Then a judge will hear the case, determine the facts, apply the law without fear or favour and reach an independent decision. This independence of the judiciary is the right of the people in a democratic state," she said.
TWO MEN who cultivated cannabis worth €36,000 have been sentenced to community sentence by Tallaght Court. Judge Anthony Halpin sentenced Edward Arkins and Paul O'Neill to 240 hours community service with three months jail in default. The court had previously accepted jurisdiction in the case. Arkins, aged 37, and O'Neill, aged 34, both with an address at Maplewood Lawn, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis at the above address on June 29, 2012. They also pleaded guilty to simple possession of cannabis and with simple possession of genus cannabis at the above address also on June 29, 2012. Sergeant Bernard Jones told the court that on the above date, Garda Michelle McGuinness obtained a warrant to search the above address and was accompanied by other members of the gardai. In the box bedroom they found two fully grown cannabis plants along with sophisticated hydroponic lighting, heating arid cooling systems surrounded by foil. They also saw 20 cannabis plants in wardrobe in the front upstairs bedroom. These plants appeared to be at an early stage of growth. In the kitchen they ob-served a large tent which contained one large mature cannabis plant ,five medium sized cannabis plants and fifteen smaller cannabis plants which appeared to be at an early stage of growth. This tent also contained hydroponic lighting heating and cooling systems. On top of the tent there was a shopping bag containing dried cannabis leaves. On the window sill there were further plants at an early stage of growth. The drugs were seized and analysed and were found to be Cannabis as defined under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1984 which required a Licence to grow. Both were arrested and they made frank admissions of their involvement in the offence. The value of the drugs was E36,000 and were 46 plants in total. Padraig O'Donovan, solicitor for, Arkins and O'Neill, agreed with the facts but challenged some. He said that the DPP had a very comprehensive file submitted to her by Garda McGuinness and she directed two simple possession and a cultivation charge. A possession for sale or supply charge or a drug-trafficking charge had not been recommended. Mr O'Donovan stated his defence was based on botany as distinct on a matter of law. He quoted from the Garda file that some 40 of these plants were shoots hadn't rooted and would not be rich in THC, the ingredient for cannabis. This was accepted by the court as the prosecution could not disagree with the submission — which would have reduced the value of the drug to €3,000 as suggested by Judge Halpin after hearing Mr O’Donovan's submissions. Judge Halpin asked the cost in setting up such a sophisticated operation and Arkins responded €800. He said the law was designed purely to stop operations such as this which can be very profitable. Mr O’Donovan submitted documentary evidence that both defendants were attending counselling to deal with their addictions. Both defendants were unemployed and have trades.Considering the matter, Judge Halpin opted to impose community service. He remanded both defendants to a date in February for a community service report of 240 hours with three months jail in default. If suitable both were remanded to Tallaght District Court on February 11, 2013 for a Probation Report and if suitable he would impose 240 hours each or three months in default.
A CHINESE woman on holiday who sexually assaulted two 12- year-old girls in a Cinema in Tallaght was this week jailed for three months. Judge Anthony Halpin in Dublin District Court also registered Yan Yuet Ching as a sex offender for seven years. He backdated the sentence to October 9 last, the date of the offence and when Ching was - taken into custody. The mother of one of the victims and the father of the other victim were in court for the final. They were accompanied by Noelle Fitzpatrick from the Tallaght Branch of Victim Support. Their daughters gave evidence to the court sitting in the Criminal Courts of Justice building in Parkgate Street by video, link. When Judge Halpin found Ching guilty, the mother of one of the girls gasped "Yes" from the public gallery. - Ching, aged 42, with an address at Killery Terrace, Upper Dargle Road, Bray, had pleaded not guilty to two charges of sexually assaulting the girls - and to two counts of assaulting the girls at the IMC Cinema, - The Square, Tallaght, on October 9 last. The first girl in her video interview said she and her friend went into the cinema and the only other person there was Ching. She said Ching asked them if she was sitting in the right seat. Ching told them they were beautiful and asked if she could take their photographs. The girl and her friend said no. Ching took the photographs - anyway and then touched herself while she touched the girl's leg. The girl told the court that she felt "weird" when Ching touched herself while touching her leg. The girl said she was still worried what would happen if Ching "doesn't get arrested". Under cross-examination from Coleen Coughlan BL, defending, the girl said she was "positive she [Ching] was feeling her private parts". The second victim said that Ching told them it was a bit warm and asked them to take off their coats. She said she jumped up when Ching started feeling her leg. She said the girls then ran away but Ching tried to pull one of the girl's hair. The second girl said: "I felt very uncomfortable, felt violated. No one has the right to take your pictures or to feel your leg." CCTV evidence showed Ching entering the cinema and then the two girls enter the cinema. followed by the two girls, who flee after Ching touches their leg. Garda Aine McCarville said that at 830pm on the above date, she took a report of an alleged assault at the IMC cinema in Tallaght while she was on mobile patrol. Ching remained in the cinema until the gardai arrived.
She said she spoke to the manager in the IMC and later to the two girls who said that Ching had been touching herself while touching their leg. Garda McCarville said Ching kept hold of her phone when she was arrested and she had to restrain her. She said: "I got the impression that she was trying to delete the pictures of the girls when she told me that she had not taken the pictures." Ms Coughlan put it to Garda McCarville that there was "no indecent element" to the assault-. and that Ching denies she touched herself. She applied for a direction on the grounds that the evidence against Ching was "tenuous", that there were large inconsistencies in the prosecution evidence and that there was no evidence of an indecent assault in that there was no intent.
Judge Halpin ruled against Ching and said there was a case to answer.
Ching told Judge Halpin that she went to the cinema and asked the girls where she could sit. She said she thought the girls “were nice". Ching said she had not wanted to scare the girls. She denied that she had been touching herself and said that she had merely putting her hand - between her legs and continued this in the Garda -station, Under cross-examination from the solicitor for the DPP, she - denied, that asking the girls where to sit had been "a ruse" to sexually assault them. Ching denied rubbing the girls' legs but said she patted them. She said she had been trying to comfort one of the girls when they ran away and in doing so, pulled her hair. Ching told the court that she did not want to sexually assault the two girls. Summing up, Judge Halpin said: "On the whole I believe the evidence of the two young girls. I am satisfied that a sexual assault did take place." He convicted Ching on the two sexual assaults and dismissed the two common assaults. The court heard that Ching, was originally from China and moved to Hong Kong. She had been married in the past but this relationship had ended. Ms Coughlan said Ching had come to Ireland for a two-month holiday and intended to marry her Irish fiancee. The court heard that Ching had no previous convictions. -Judge Halpin said that while it was a serious offence if was at the lower end of the scale "of seriousness as there .was no invasion of the young girls but there was sexual gratification", Registering Ching as a sex offender, he sentenced her to three months jail backdated to - October 9 last.
A PEDIGREE Boxer has cost her owners more than E35,000 in damages and legal costs. Jess, the family pet of Amanda McMahon and her former partner, Darren Anderson, of Forest Hills in Rathcoole, bit the hand of postman James Coll, Dublin Circuit Civil Court heard on this week. Barrister Karen Nolan said Mr Coll, aged 50, of Royal Meadows, Kilcock, Co Kildare, was left with a two-inch-long scar on his right hand index finger which sometimes now became numb while driving or in frost. She - told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that Mr Coll was a relief postman on the Rathcoole route and had not been issued by An Post with any warnings of dangerous dogs on the route. He had not been trained regarding mail drops through letterboxes at houses where there may be dangerous dogs.
Judge Linnane awarded Mr Coll just under E22,000 in damages. She said he had fallen backwards after having been bitten and had struck his head on a concrete paving, also damaging one of his teeth. She awarded Mr Coll's Legal costs against Ms McMahon and Mr Anderson, as well as the Legal costs of An Post who were cleared of any liability for the incident. Costs are estimated at more than E13,000. Mr Coll told the court there was no back-flap or bristle draught excluder on the inside of the front door at the defendants home with the result that his hand slipped through more easily. The dog had snapped his finger as he pushed mail through into the hallway. He told Matthew Jolly, counsel for Ms McMahon and Mr Anderson, that there had been no barking or growling from the hallway before he pushed the post into the letterbox. Mr Coll also told Paul McKeon, counsel for An Post, he had never been given a training document warning postmen not to put their hands through letterboxes. Forensic engineer Alan Conlan told Judge Linnane
the lack of a backplate or draught excluder on a letter box would have presented a significant hazard to postmen. The letter box now had a wire cage attached. Ms McMahon said Jess, a 30-inch-high pedigree Boxer, was a family pet but also a very good guard dog. "She was very vocal and would certainly let visitors know. she was in the hallway," she said. Mr Anderson was not called to give evidence. Mick Byrne, the regular postman on the Rathcoole route, said he was familiar with the dog and nine times out of 10 she would have ripped the letters out of his hand as he "carefully pushed them through." Judge Linnane said liability lay with Ms McMahon and Mr Anderson. She awarded Mr Coll E21,933 damages and directed the couple pay his costs and that of An Post who, she said, had no case to answer.
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The Venerable Matt Talbot (2 May 1856 – 7 June 1925) was an Irish ascetic who is revered by many Catholics for his piety, charity and mortification of the flesh.
Though he has not been formally recognized as a Saint, American Catholics have listed him as a patron saint for alcoholics.
A personal injury action proceeding through the Court system may last many months or even years. However most personal injury cases never reach a Court room at all. Instead, they are successfully settled outside of it. The Defendant, though their solicitor, will offer an amount of money which if accepted should satisfy your claim; eliminating the need to appear in court.
For what should I be compensated?
In Ireland all personal injury claims (with some exceptions) must be submitted to the Injuries Board. Click here for more information on the process.
Most people are concerned by the potential costs of court proceedings when making a personal injury claim.
Generally, under the Courts system, ‘costs follow the event’ such that the wrongdoer pays the injured party’s costs of seeking compensation in addition to the compensation itself. This means that if you are successful in your case, the defendant has to pay all or most of your legal expenses in addition to your compensation award.
The defendant will pay for the solicitors’ professional fees, engineer’s fees, medical report fees, other expert report fees. However there are instances where a shortfall occurs between what the defendant is ordered to pay and the actual costs incurred by the Plaintiff. In such circumstances, the Plaintiff will be responsible for these fees, usually paid out of any compensation award.
Some costs are not routinely covered, and these include a portion of the witnesses’ fees, and in particular, expert witnesses’ fees. You will likely have to pay these sums out of your compensation award, or otherwise out of your own pocket. This includes the initial application fee to the Injuries Board.
However, it is important to realize that most personal injury cases never reach court at all. Instead, they are successfully settled outside of court.