Guilty man freed after garda fails to travel for sentencing
A MAN who has already pleaded guilty to a crime has had his case thrown out after a garda witness failed to travel from Sligo to Dublin for his sentencing.
Judge Martin Nolan struck out the case when he was told that the garda was on leave and couldn't travel from Sligo to Dublin today.
Jason Tilbury (32) of Delaford Lawns, Knocklyon, Dublin had pleaded guilty last month at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the possession of a stolen quad bike and trailer in Knocklyon on April 10, 2011.
He had being remanded on bail and was due to be sentenced today.
The case was listed for today and the State solicitor telephoned the garda witness the day before to inform her that the case was being dealt with and she was required in court.
The garda contacted the State solicitor in the morning to say that she wasn't aware of the date and wasn't in Dublin.
Judge Nolan said he wanted to know where the garda was when she said she couldn’t attend to “do her duty”.
He said: “If she is within easy access to court I take a very dim view. It is very serious for a guard to say to anybody I won’t come to court today.”
When the judge was later told the guard was in Enniscrone, Co Sligo on Monday evening when she received the message about the court hearing Judge Nolan said her explanation was not sufficient.
He said while he accepted she is on leave he said that it is important that people attend court on the appropriate day.
He said it is a burden on the defendant not knowing what is going to happen to him and that when a defendant fails to attend court a bench warrant is issued for their arrest.
Judge Nolan said that if he agreed to adjourn the case it would give “an indication that guards don’t have to attend if it doesn’t suit them”.
He added: “That might sound harsh but for the proper running of this court I am going to strike out the case against Mr Tilbury. It is with some reluctance.”
He said he had no wish to embarrass the guard involved but that his court cannot be run efficiently if he allows this to go on.