Judgments: Key cases in brief

The presumption that a lost will was intended to be revoked is rebutted by circumstantial evidence. In re McDermott (2015) IEHC 622 (High Court, Baker J, October 14th, 2015) The High Court grants an order admitting a copy of a will to probate, where the original will had been lost, on the grounds that the deceased had taken a careful interest in her financial affairs, and that this rebutted the presumption that the will had been lost with the intention of revoking it.

– Shane Kiely BL

The award of maintenance by a district judge did not breach fair procedures. KL v Judge Ní Chondúin (2015) IEHC 617 (High Court, Baker J, October 9th, 2015) The High Court refuses to quash a maintenance order made by the District Court against a husband in separation proceedings, on the grounds the husband had failed to exercise his right to appeal to the Circuit Court, and the use of the phrase "Russian roulette" by the judge to describe the attempt to reach a figure for maintenance was used only to explain the difficulties a judge has in calculating fair means to distribute limited resources in the context of a marriage breakdown.

– Shane Kiely BL


The disparity between sentences arising from the robbery of taxi was warranted where one co-accused entered guilty plea. DPP v McCarthy (2015) IECA 223 (Court of Appeal, Mahon J, October 19th, 2015) The Court of Appeal dismisses an appeal from the Circuit Court on the severity of a sentence and affirms sentences totalling five years imprisonment arising from a robbery of a taxi, where a co-accused had received a sentence of four years on the grounds the co-accused had pleaded guilty.

– Ciarán Joyce BL

The dismissal of a Garda sergeant failed to consider relevant material facts. McEnery v Commissioner of An Garda Síochána (2015) IECA 217 (Court of Appeal, Kelly J, October 16th, 2015) The Court of Appeal allows an appeal from High Court and grants judicial review of the dismissal of a Garda sergeant who had been convicted of a criminal offence, finding that the commissioner was required to consider not just the conviction (or criminal conduct) which constituted the breach of discipline, but also the material facts surrounding it.

– Ciarán Joyce BL

A man surrendered to Northern Ireland for prosecution in relation to the hijacking of car. Minister for Justice v McGinley (2015) IEHC 627 (High Court, Noonan J, October 20th, 2015) The High Court orders the surrender of an individual to Northern Ireland pursuant to a European arrest warrant for his prosecution for four offences, including the hijacking of a car, where none of the points of objection raised had any merit, including his fear of being treated less favourably as a member of the Travelling community, and a sufficient link had been demonstrated between the respondent and the alleged offences.

– James Cross BL

The question of "independence" for the purposes of a corroboration warning was a matter for the jury. DPP v TE (2015) IECA 218 (Court of Appeal, Edwards J, July 30th, 2015) The Court of Appeal dismisses the appeal of rape conviction, finding that 1), a decision to refuse a direction had been within the trial judge's legitimate range of discretion; 2), the appellant was precluded from raising on appeal criticisms of the trial judge's charge with respect to recklessness, in circumstances where no complaint was made at the trial, and 3), the issue as to whether evidence from a witness as to the distress of the complainant had the necessary quality of independence for the purposes of a corroboration warning, was not a question for the judge but for the jury.

– Ciarán Joyce BL

Reporting of a civil action might cause prejudice in criminal trial. Quinn v Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Ltd (in special liquidation) (2015) IEHC 634 (High Court, Haughton J, October 23rd, 2015) The High Court, on the application of the Director of Public Prosecutions, grants an application to defer a trial date of substantive civil proceedings involving a liquidated bank and a prominent businessman until the conclusion of a separate but related criminal trial, as there was a real risk of prejudice arising from the reporting of the civil proceedings which could not be ameliorated by reporting restrictions or other measures.

– Ian Fitzharris BL

A full hearing required in a claim against local authority arising from representations made by a planning official Campion v South Tipperary County Council (2015) IESC 79 (Supreme Court, McKechnie J, July 31st, 2015) The Supreme Court dismisses an appeal from the High Court and affirms a decision to refuse to hear a preliminary issue in a claim against a local authority for issuing enforcement proceedings after an official of the same local authority allegedly informed the developer of land that certain variations to a planning permission did not require a further application, on the grounds the claims made by the developer involved mixed questions of fact and law and a claim had been made of misfeasance in public office which would require an extensive oral hearing.

– Mark Tottenham BL

These reports are provided by Stare Decisis Hibernia staredecisishibernia.com. The full text of each judgment is available on courts.ie