Minister must give court papers to ex-nun wrongfully convicted of rape

The justice minister has been ordered to hand over documentation which Nora Wall, a former nun, says she needs for her miscarriage-of-justice case over her wrongful conviction for raping a 12-year-old girl.

Minister must give court papers to ex-nun wrongfully convicted of rape

Ms Wall, aged 65, is seeking High Court damages against the State over the DPP’s decision to bring the rape case to trial.

She claimed the justice minister, the State, and the DPP knew, or ought to have known, the complainant and an allegedly corroborating witness had lied in their statements to gardaí.

In 1999, the former Sisters of Mercy nun — known as Sr Dominic — was the first woman to be convicted of rape in Ireland.

Ms Wall was released on bail four days into a life sentence after it emerged that a prosecution witness had been called to testify in her trial against the directions of the DPP.

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

In 2005, in light of these new facts, the Court of Criminal Appeal declared Ms Wall’s conviction was a miscarriage of justice.

She then brought her claim for damages against the State and sought orders for discovery of documents in preparation for that case.

Mr Justice Michael White yesterday ordered the minister and the State to provide certain documentation that records the reason or reasons, as yet undisclosed, why the witness for the prosecution was not to be called at the trial.

He ordered the defendants also disclose documentation created before July 31, 1999, dealing with any assessment of the credibility and/or reliability of the complainant.

He ordered discovery of all documentation recording the systems in place at the time of the trial to ensure compliance with the directions of the DPP concerning the calling of witnesses, including the corroborating witness.

This includes, but is not limited to, documentation recording the circulation of the DPP’s direction not to call the witness for the prosecution.

The DPP is not a defendant or a notice party in the case and the judge was not making a discovery order against her. For the purposes of this discovery application, he did not regard the DPP as an agent or servant of the minister and the State.

The judge shared the concerns of the DPP that serious allegations were made against her office and against the complainant when neither were parties to the proceedings.

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