A convicted rapist wants to bring legal proceedings against the DPP and the gardaí over an alleged failure to prosecute prison officers for perjury in relation to an incident in which he was assaulted while in custody, writes Ann O'Loughlin of the Irish Examiner.
Darius Savickis (aged 46), who is originally from Lithuania, was assasulted by a prison officer while serving a six-year sentence for orally raping a 23-year-old German woman walking home from work in Galway on November 28, 2005.
In 2016, he was awarded €17,225 by the Court of Appeal over what a judge said was a clear assault on him by an officer in Castlerea Prison.
Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, on behalf of the Appeal Court, said some of the prison officers who gave evidence in an original jury civil action taken by Savickis had regrettably "told lies".
His lawyers today applied to the High Court for permission to bring proceedings against the DPP and the Garda Commissioner over an alleged failure to prosecute the prison officers for perjury.
His counsel, Siobhan Phelan, in response to a query from Mr Justice Seamus Noonan about whether the DPP can be pursued over non-prosecution decisions, said the landscape in relation to this had changed since a 2015 EU directive on victims' rights.
Mr Justice Noonan said he first wanted to hear from the DPP and gardaí before he would make a decision on the application.
"It should therefore be made on notice to the defendants," he said. "The issue raised has very significant ramifications.".
He adjourned the matter to next month.
In his original High Court action, a jury awarded him just €224 after rejecting the majority of his claims, but finding unreasonable force had been used by the officers. Attributing 95% responsibility for this to Savickis, the jury therefore reduced the award it was making to him from €4,500 to €224.
The appeal court found however he had been assaulted and awarded him €10,000 along with €5,000 in exemplary damages over the evidence given by the prison officers and another €2,225 for the use of unreasonable force.
"It is, I regret to say, very difficult to avoid the conclusion that some of the witnesses tendered by the State told lies regarding this matter in the course of their evidence", Mr Justice Hogan said.
Subsequently, the victim of the rape by Savickis got a High Court order freezing the paying out of that award to him pending the outcome of a civil action for damages by her against him.