Judge refuses to throw out case of verbal abuse against President

A judge has refused to throw out the case of two men and a woman, accused of engaging in threatening and abusive language, allegedly directed at President Michael D Higgins.

Dublin District Court has heard arguments from the defence that the allegation was vague. However, after written submissions from the State, Judge Bryan Smyth said there was no factual vagueness in the wording of the charge.

The abuse was allegedly directed at President Higgins during a protest at Cappagh Road, in Finglas, in Dublin, on January 23 last year.

The three, from Dublin, face trial: Derek Byrnc 36, of Streamville Rd, Kilbarrack; Anna Clarke, 35, formerly of St Donagh’s Road, Donaghmede, but now living in England, and Diarmuid Dubhghlais, 41, of Parc Ui Mhaoiliosa, Finglas. Mr Dubhghlais wants his trial in Irish. They are charged with using threatening, abusive, and insulting words or behaviour, with intent to provoke a breach of the peace, or of being reckless as to whether a breach of the peace might have been occasioned. The offence can result in a fine and/or a three-month jail sentence.

Simon Donagh, defending Ms Clarke, argued that the charge was similar to another, which was struck down by the High Court for being too vague. He asked the court to dismiss this case, or for the State to “nail their colours to the mast”.

He said the charge against his client involved at least three offences: threatening, abusive, and insulting words or behaviour.

There were 20 prosecution statements and counsel said he did not know what offence was alleged against Ms Clarke.

Prionsias Ó Maolchalain, defending Mr Byrne, said he was adopting the same submissions.

Judge Smyth ordered that Mr Byrne and Ms Clarke’s trial be held on June 28.


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