Sunday 19 January 2020

High Court rejects bid to challenge abortion vote

Stock photo
Stock photo

Tim Healy

The president of the High Court has refused two separate applications for permission to bring petitions challenging the Yes result of the abortion referendum.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly also made an order with the effect the referendum result cannot come into formal effect for at least a week to allow one of the applicants to seek an appeal in the Court of Appeal.

The applications for leave to bring petitions were by Charles Byrne, a piano teacher and musician, of College Rise, Drogheda, Co Louth, and Joanna Jordan of Upper Glenageary Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

Both alleged irregularities in the conduct of the referendum and registration of voters.

They also complained about statements made by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris during the referendum campaign. The State said none of the matters raised met the criteria for a petition.

The judge ruled yesterday that neither Mr Byrne nor Ms Jordan had met the necessary legal test set by the Referendum Act before a court can permit a petition to be brought.

The Act states a petition can be brought only if the intended petitioner has prima facie evidence of matters likely to "materially" affect the referendum outcome.

After he gave his first judgment refusing Mr Byrne's application, lawyers for Mr Byrne sought to defer any formal certification of the referendum result pending an appeal.

Mr Justice Kelly agreed to make an order preventing the Master of the High Court informing the referendum returning officer the petition had been refused as that would trigger the formal procedure for certification of the referendum result.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News