A High Court judge has ruled there was a prosecutorial delay in the case of 19 year old man who was arrested on a suspected robbery offence when he was a child, but only charged last year.
But Mr Justice Garrett Simons dismissed the 19-year-old’s legal challenge aimed at preventing his prosecution on two charges relating to an alleged robbery on a Luas tram and platform in 2017. The judge also directed the prosecution should now go ahead.
The 19-year-old had brought judicial review proceedings, aimed at restraining the further prosecution of criminal charges pending against him, on the basis of prosecutorial delay.
He claimed the alleged offences were when he was 16 years old and he contended had the garda investigation been conducted expeditiously he would have been entitled to the charges determined in accordance with the Children Act 2001.
Mr Justice Simons said the delay of 22 months between the date of the alleged offences in June 2017, and the subsequent charging of the young man last year, was inordinate. The 22 months' delay, the judge said, was excessive, and he added at almost every stage of the process there was culpable delay on the part of the prosecuting authorities.
What should have been a straightforward investigation took far too long, the judge said. Mr Justice Simons said the fact that the investigation file seems to have gone missing within An Garda Síochána for a significant period of time was especially concerning.
However, the judge ruled the balance of justice lies in favour of allowing the prosecution to proceed, and he also noted the offences alleged were serious.
Mr Justice Simons said the youth had already been convicted of a number of offences, been detained at Oberstown House, and is currently in custody in prison.