HSE granted leave in Joel death case

THE Health Service Executive (HSE) has been granted leave by the High Court to challenge an order made by a circuit court judge requiring it to hand over documents to be used in the manslaughter trial over the death of Co Wexford woman Evelyn Joel.

Last month, at a sitting of Wexford Circuit Court, Judge Michael White ordered the disclosure of HSE documents in a prosecution brought by the DPP against Evelyn’s Joel’s daughter and her partner.

The documents in question relate to an inquiry set up by the HSE in which a committee was asked to review the services available to Ms Joel in the two years preceding her death.

Ms Joel’s daughter, Eleanor, aged 34, and Eleanor’s partner, Jonathon Costen, aged 35, of Cluain Dara, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, face charges of unlawfully killing Ms Joel contrary to common law on January 7, 2006.

At the High Court the HSE was granted leave, on an ex-parte basis to have the order for discovery of documents made by Judge White on May 27 judicially reviewed.

The HSE are further seeking to have that decision quashed, and a declaration that the order was without jurisdiction. The DPP and both Costen and Joel are notice parties to the proceedings.

Leave to have Judge White’s order judicially reviewed was granted by Mr Justice Michael Peart, who made the matter returnable to a date later this month. The judge also granted a stay on the handing over of the documents pending the hearing of the judicial review proceedings.

The HSE claims that the judge’s order for discovery is not available in law to a party in criminal proceedings as against a non-party. It further claims that in making the order the judge acted unreasonably, irrationally and erred in law and that the order was made without jurisdiction.

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