High Court hears challenge to decision to strike out charges linked to redundancies at Clerys

A High Court challenge has been brought over a lower court's decision to strike out charges linked to redundancies at Clerys department store in Dublin.

High Court hears challenge to decision to strike out charges linked to redundancies at Clerys

By Ann O'Loughlin

A High Court challenge has been brought over a lower court's decision to strike out charges linked to redundancies at Clerys department store in Dublin.

Last month, the District Court Judge John Brennan struck out charges against businesswoman Deidre Foley, co-defendant Mark Redmond, of Belfry Dale, Saggart, Co Dublin, and the previous owners of Clerys, OCS Operations on the grounds the prosecution had failed to comply with an order for disclosure.

The respondents had been charged with offences contrary to provisions of the 1977-2014 Protection of Employment Act arising out of the closure of Clerys in June 2015 when a total of 460 people lost their jobs. 134 of those were employees of OCS Operations Ltd, the previous owners of Clerys.

The Judge ruled that any further adjournment would encroach on the defendants' rights to fair procedure and an expeditious trial.

Lawyers for the company, Ms Foley and Mr Redmond applied to have the charges struck out on the grounds they could not get a fair trial without being provided with certain material from the Inspectors appointed by the Labour Court to look into the redundancies at the Store.

At the High Court today lawyers for the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection secured permission from Mr Justice Seamus Noonan aimed at seeking to have Judge Brennan's decision quashed.

In proceedings against Ms Foley, Mr Redmond and OCS Operations Ltd the Minister represented by Padraig O'Dwyer and Breffni Gordon Bl, also seeks various declarations including that the District Judge failed to strike a balance between the public interest in the prosecution of the offences and any risk of an unfair trial.

The Minister further seeks declarations the striking out order was wholly disproportionate and unjust having regard to the all the circumstances of the case and that the Minister had fully discharged its duty to make disclosure to the respondents.

Seeking leave Mr Dwyer for the Minister said following the closure a complex investigation was conducted by Inspectors on behalf of the Minister.

Counsel said the disclosure related to a number of witness statements written on a computer by the inspectors.

Counsel said that it was their case that they had provided the respondents with comprehensive full and frank disclosure and there has been no culpable delay on its part.

Counsel said it is also the Minister's case the respondents did not make out that there was any risk of an unfair trial.

Mr Justice Noonan after granting leave to the Minister, on an ex parte basis, adjourned the matter to a date in June.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up