Monday 27 January 2020

State advised not to pursue costs from man who brought abortion challenge as a 'piano is his only asset'

Charles Byrne, a musician, pictured leaving the Four Courts Pic: Collins
Charles Byrne, a musician, pictured leaving the Four Courts Pic: Collins

Tim Healy

THE only asset of a man who tried to challenge the abortion referendum result in the courts is a piano.

The State and Referendum Commission are entitled to their legal costs, estimated at more than €200,000, after opposing two separate bids to challenge the result.

President of the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly said the State and commission are entitled to their legal costs against Charles Byrne, whose case was against both.

He ruled the State was also entitled to its costs against Joanna Jordan, whose case was only against State parties.

Mr Byrne is not pursuing an appeal over the dismissal of his application for permission to bring a petition challenging the referendum outcome.

After the court was told his only asset is a piano, the judge recommended the State and commission might consider not pursuing him for costs.

They would save further costs due to Mr Byrne having brought an end to the matter, he noted.

As Ms Jordan had said she will appeal, he would not make the same recommendation, the judge added.

After the costs ruling, Alan Davoren, solicitor for Ms Jordan, asked that in the context of her intended appeal a stay be applied until Friday on the referendum result coming into effect.

Mr Davoren is reserving his position concerning whether he will continue to act for Ms Jordan after Friday, the court heard.

The judge agreed to grant the stay until Friday on the result being certified so as to facilitate her constitutional entitlement to go to the Court of Appeal.

The State consented to a stay in those limited terms and any further stay will be a matter for the appeal court, he noted.

He also granted a stay until Friday on the costs order against Ms Jordan.

Both Ms Jordan, a homemaker, of Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, and Mr Byrne, a musician, of College Rise, Drogheda, Co Louth, had sought to have the State pay their costs but the judge said there were no special circumstances entitling them to such orders.

Irish Independent

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