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Sack the Minister

When the Food Safety Authority of Ireland tested a range of Irish frozen beef burgers, purchased from Irish and British supermarkets, it found evidence that they contained horse meat and/or pig meat. It found that the source of the offending meat was the respective manufacturer of the beef burger. In the case of Silvercrest Foods Ltd. almost 30% of one burger constituted horse meat. These facts were sufficient evidence to prosecute the various manufacturers (and the retailers). Prosecutions are necessary […]

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Injured? What to do. (5)

Prior to 2004, for not less than fifty years, plaintiffs were not required to give any further details on the issue of proceedings. The plaintiff was, however, obliged to give the details to the defendant before the trial. It was, (and still is), in the plaintiff’s interest to find out those details and to communicate them to the defendant. Only when the defendant knows these things can the defendant readily agree to settle the claim. Settlement is the best outcome of personal injury litigation; there are insufficient judges to adjudicate on all or most claims for personal injury.

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Injured? What to do. (4)

Legal practitioners have a solution to that; plead every conceivable item of loss and, later, waive those that do not apply. Section 10 prevents this; it requires that “full” particulars be pleaded. This implies that the plaintiff cannot issue proceedings until all these losses are accrued and known, or, as mentioned, that items not pleaded cannot later be claimed.

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Injured? What to do. (2)

To be useful, on issuing the proceedings, it is essential that the Statute of Limitations period not have expired. That period, for personal injury, is two years, measured from the date of the cause of action. Generally, there is no difficulty ascertaining the date of the accrual of the cause of action. For a road accident victim, say, it is the date of the accident.

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An Arresting Experience

It is a criminal offence to resist a lawful arrest, but not an unlawful arrest. Some unlawful arrests are plainly that; more often than not they are seen to be unlawful with hindsight.

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Judge Roy Bean & friends

In a criminal trial the role of the villain is always allocated to the accused, it seems.

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Pleading the Belly

However, I look forward to the case where I inform a court that my client will so plead.

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Indictments are like cheques; sign them!

endorsed the decision in R v Morais (1988) 87 Cr App R 9. In that case the judge had given leave to prefer a voluntary bill against the accused, who was arraigned on six counts in the bill. The accused pleaded not guilty, was convicted on four counts and was sentenced. Relying on the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1933, he appealed on the ground that the bill had never been signed by the proper officer: without a signature, he argued, there could be no indictment, and without an indictment there could be no valid trial.

In Morais the Court of Appeal agreed with the submission. The court endorsed a statement of Peter Pain J in an earlier case:

It seems to us that it is impossible for a criminal trial to start without there being a valid indictment to which the defendant can plead, and that the bill of indictment does not become an indictment until it is signed”.

In Ireland the relevant legislation is the Criminal Justice (Administration) Act 1924. It mandates the form of the indictment in the Act and in the First Schedule to the Act. The choice of indictment is limited to the charges expressed or implied in the documents known as the “Book of Evidenceâ€? served on the accused.

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9th October 1890, a fateful day for solicitors

Morris was, probably, a counterfeit solicitor. Even so, as remarked by Dr. Watson’s companion, he had benefited Mr. Wilson, the red-headed pensioner by £30 and a deep knowledge of every subject coming under the letter “A” in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, before abruptly dissolving the League and ending Mr. Wilson’s income.

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The sequel to the Book of Evidence

It is currently unchallenged, in Ireland, that an accused person is entitled to access to the evidence, prior to trial, that the State intends to adduce against him/her at trial. In Ireland, for many years, the procedure to secure that entitlement for the accused was set out in the Criminal Procedure Act 1967. That Act conferred a role on the District Court, in indictable cases, in deciding whether to send a person forward for trial to the Circuit Court or […]

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