Sunday 18 February 2018

Burglary case thrown out because garda attended sister's wedding in Rome

Tim Healy

A BURGLARY case which was thrown out after a garda forgot he had to attend his sister’s wedding in Rome is to be reinstated following a High Court ruling.

Brendan Reynolds (36), Alderborough Parade, Dublin, was charged trespassing on a flat in Fairview, Dublin, on February 6, 2011, when the occupant woke up to find Reynolds sitting on his couch in the early hours of the morning, the High Court heard. 


Reynolds had got in through a skylight and was asked to leave, which he did, but on the way out took a mobile phone belonging to the occupant, it was alleged.   When gardai from Clontarf arrived a short time later, he claimed he had gone into the wrong flat by mistake while looking for a female friend’s flat.


He pleaded guilty and following a number of appearances, he was due for sentencing in the Circuit Criminal Court a year later, on February 10, 2012.


But when prosecuting Garda James Ward did not appear to give evidence at sentencing, Judge Martin Nolan struck out the charge.


The DPP then asked the High Court to quash Judge Nolan’s decision arguing he (Nolan) had no lawful jurisdiction to strike out. Garda Ward had explained later that, due to inadvertence, he had forgot there was a clash of dates between the sentencing hearing and his sister’s wedding in Rome, the DPP also said.


Counsel for Reynolds opposed the DPP’s application. 


Yesterday, Mr Justice John Hedigan said he had sympathy with Judge Nolan’s decision in striking the case out in circumstances where Reynolds had been in custody for a year and where no proper explanation was given as to why he should not be released.


However, the effect of Judge Nolan’s order in refusing to re-enter the matter was to quash the case when it still remained alive and that could only be done by the High Court, Mr Justice Hedigan said.


The sentencing hearing should therefore proceed and he remitted the matter back to the Circuit Court.

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