Tuesday 23 July 2019

Nun wrongfully convicted of rape wins six-year legal battle

Nora Wall had her case declared a miscarriage of justice.
Nora Wall had her case declared a miscarriage of justice.

A SIX-year legal battle by former nun Nora Wall for damages for her wrongful conviction for the rape of a young girl has settled in the High Court.

While no settlement figure was disclosed, it is understood Ms Wall will receive more than €500,000.

Her case was certified a miscarriage of justice.

Ms Wall, whose claim included a claim for punitive and exemplary damages, previously rejected an offer of €75,000 as inadequate.

Today, lawyers for Ms Wall and the defendants, the Minister for Justice and the State, told the court the case had settled and could be struck out with costs to Ms Wall.

The compensation proceedings were initiated in 2010.

The cause of action dates back to 1999 after Ms Wall, a former Sisters of Mercy nun known as Sister Dominic, became the first woman to be convicted of rape in Ireland.

Ms Wall was released on bail four days into a life sentence when it emerged a prosecution witness had been called, against the direction of the DPP, to testify at her trial.

That witness later admitted fabricating evidence in which she claimed to have seen Nora Wall holding down the alleged victim during the attack.

In light of those new facts, the Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA) in 2005 declared Ms Wall's conviction a miscarriage of justice.

In 2014, in an order made in the compensation proceedings, Mr Justice Michael White directed the Minister and State to provide a range of documents to Ms Wall's side.

These included documents recording the reason or reasons, as yet undisclosed, why the witness for the prosecution was not to be called at the trial and any documents prior to July 31, 1999, dealing with any assessment of the credibility and/or reliability of the complainant.

After further applications, the DPP later agreed to discover those documents.

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