Young woman fails in bid to stop trial in connection with stabbing of young man

A young woman who was 15 years old when she was allegedly involved in a serious incident during which a young male was stabbed by another person has failed to get a High Court order halting her criminal trial.

Young woman fails in bid to stop trial in connection with stabbing of young man

A young woman who was 15 years old when she was allegedly involved in a serious incident during which a young male was stabbed by another person has failed to get a High Court order halting her criminal trial.

The case arises out of an incident in 2015 when a young male, the complainant, was assaulted and stabbed.

It was alleged the complainant had intervened earlier that day in a dispute between the applicant and another girl and the applicant shouted at him: "I'm going to get you fucking sliced up".

It was alleged she, a male relative and other young males later approached the complainant who was assaulted and stabbed.

He was taken to hospital and treated for serious injuries.

Criminal proceedings arising from the incident were brought against a number of people, including the applicant.

She is charged with two offences under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act. These are that, without lawful excuse, making a threat, intending the complainant to believe it would be carried out, to kill or cause serious harm to him and of assaulting him, causing him harm.

She is also charged under the Public Order Act with violent disorder and using or threatening to use, unlawful violence amounting to conduct causing a person at the said place to fear for their own safety or the safety of another.

In judicial review proceedings initiated in July 2017, she asked the High Court to prohibit her trial on grounds of a delay from the date of the alleged offence in autumn 2015 to the scheduled trial date in December 2017.

The criminal trial was put on hold pending the judicial review.

In his judgment today, Mr Justice Simons refused to halt the trial over a delay of some two years which meant she would be tried as an adult, not a child, and lose certain protections under the Children Act, including anonymity and having the record of any criminal conviction deleted.

He also refused prohibition on grounds of her poor mental health, involving a past history of impulsive self-harm and overdoses.

While there were pockets of delay in the police investigation, the effect of those was offset by the allocation of an expedited trial date, he held.

The time period between the date when the charges were preferred and the scheduled trial date was much shorter than usual and, "taken in the round", there was "no culpable or blameworthy" prosecutorial delay, he held.

He noted the applicant was charged in August 2016 but also noted her mother had lead gardaí to believe she had emigrated to England in late September 2015 when in fact she returned to Ireland in October 2015 following a short visit to the UK.

The applicant has been charged with very serious offences and, were it not for the judicial review proceedings, would have had a trial two years after the date of the alleged offences, he said.

He also considered the principal factor in allowing the prosecution proceed is the seriousness of the alleged offences and the obvious public interest in having prosecutions for such offences heard and determined.

The prejudice the applicant would suffer as a result of not being tried as a child was not sufficiently serious to tip the balance in favour of a prohibition order, he held.

Addressing the mental health issue, he said medical reports confirm, "much to the credit of the applicant and her mother", she has made significant progress since being referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in September 2015.

An applicant's medical condition would have to be "wholly exceptional" to warrant an order prohibiting their trial on those grounds and that threshold was not met on the facts of this case.

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