Supreme Court gets first-ever live TV broadcast
Man extradited to US on fraud charges in first of two judgments broadcast on RTÉ app
The five judges, including Chief Justice of Ireland Mr Justice Frank Clarke (centre), at the Supreme Court in Dublin where two court proceedings were broadcast live for the first time. Photograph: RTÉ/PA Wire
The view of the Supreme Court bench from behind one of the lighting stands in the public gantry during a live broadcast by RTE of two judgements. Photograph: Collins Courts
The Supreme Court has delivered two separate judgments in proceedings filmed by TV cameras, marking the first live broadcasting of court proceedings in the history of the State.
The first judgment involved a unanimous decision by the five-judge court permitting the extradition to the US of Patrick Lee (43), Newtown, Co Kildare on charges related to alleged mortgage fraud.
Mr Lee denied he knowingly engaged in a scheme to intentionally defraud various US banks and mortgage lenders of loans for properties that were never repaid.
The core issue in his appeal was whether the Extradition Act 1965 prevented his extradition.
He argued he was outside the US when some of the 51 offences alleged against him occurred, and Section 15 of the 1965 Act meant he could and should be tried here for those offences.
Section 15 provides extradition shall not, in certain circumstances, be granted for an offence which is also an offence under the law of this State.
In his judgment, the Chief Justice Mr Justice Frank Clarke said the fact Irish statute criminal law creates an offence which can involve acts or omissions arising outside this jurisdiction does not mean any such offence must be deemed, under Section 15, to be regarded as having been committed in Ireland as a matter of Irish law.
Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell, Mr Justice John MacMenamin, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne and Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley all agreed.
The second judgment allowed, by a four-to-one majority, an appeal by a man against a decision that he was not entitled to redress for treatment suffered following his transfer, while a child in a hospital in the 1960s, to a nursing home for periods of two years and later one year.
His transfer arose from an apparent misdiagnosis, the Supreme Court noted. While at the nursing home, he was subject to what the court described as a “particularly harsh” regime.
He claimed he was subject to treatments which had no scientific justification even by the standards of the time, including keeping children sedated for long periods.
The Residential Institutions Redress Committee awarded some compensation for his treatment in the hospital. However, while accepting his treatment in the nursing home constituted “abuse” under the Act, it refused redress because the nursing home was not an “institution” covered by the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002.
The Chief Justice, with whom Mr Justice MacMenamin, Ms Justice Dunne and Ms Justice O’Malley agreed, allowed the man’s appeal and directed the matter be returned to the Redress Board to assess compensation including concerning his treatment in the nursing home.
Disagreeing, Mr Justice O’Donnell said he had “no lack of sympathy or generosity” towards the man but the statutory language of the Act could not be ignored.
Its intention was to provide compensation to certain persons who received injuries consistent with abuse while “resident” in certain institutions.
The court’s proceedings were broadcast live on the RTÉ News Now app and on rté.ie news.