Air Corps commandant facing dismissal over new insulting language charge

Defendant told case can’t be stopped on basis of procedural concerns

 Irish Army excercises in Port, Cork. Judge Col Campion said rules of conduct for military procedures were listed in the Defence Act. Photograph: Daragh MacSweeney/Provision

Irish Army excercises in Port, Cork. Judge Col Campion said rules of conduct for military procedures were listed in the Defence Act. Photograph: Daragh MacSweeney/Provision

 

An Air Corps officer facing five court-martial charges including calling a superior a “piece of s**t” has been told his case cannot be stopped on the basis of several procedural concerns he raised at a pretrial hearing yesterday.

Cmdt Nile (Niall) Donohoe is accused of assault, making a false accusation, acts or conduct prejudice to good order and discipline, and using insulting language, all relating to an incident in August 2007 involving a lieutenant colonel.

Cmdt Donohoe had previously been convicted at court martial and dismissed from his post for using abusive language, although this was subsequently overturned in the High Court in 2012. His latest alleged offences relate to a different incident, although they all emanate from the same list of 12 original charges.

During yesterday’s hearings at McKee barracks in Dublin, military court judge Michael Campion asked Cmdt Donohoe if he was applying for a stay on the trial and six remaining charges on the original sheet, which have not been prosecuted to date. Cmdt Donohoe agreed this was his position.

The accused set out 23 concerns, including the existence of a relevant matter before the High Court, previous adverse publicity to his case, the issue of disclosure, availability of witnesses and perceived delay in proceedings.

Prosecutorial process

In one instance he asked that the Defence Forces’ investigative and prosecutorial process be outlined as this was necessary to investigate any potential abuses of the system.

Responding in detail to submissions, Col Campion said it was not open to a pretrial hearing’s jurisdiction to quash or stay proceedings, or to rule on many of the legal questions raised. He said rules of conduct for military procedures were listed in the Defence Act.

“So the matters which you raised . . . can’t be dealt with in this court,” he said.

Cmdt Donohoe has not yet entered a plea on the charges and will appear again in October.