Man who shot Charlie Chawke has appeal rejected

Frank Ward’s application to declare his sentence a miscarriage of justice rejected

File photograph of Frank Ward, who was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on appeal for the shooting of publican Charlie Chawke during a robber. Photograph: Garrett White / Collins

File photograph of Frank Ward, who was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on appeal for the shooting of publican Charlie Chawke during a robber. Photograph: Garrett White / Collins

 

Armed robber Frank Ward, who was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on appeal for the shooting of publican Charlie Chawke during a robbery, has had an application to declare his sentence a miscarriage of justice rejected by the Court of Appeal.

Ward (60), with a last address at Knockmore Avenue, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to to five charges relating to assault causing serious harm and possession of a firearm at the Goat Grill, Goatstown on October 6th, 2003.

The father of three was given two concurrent life sentences but had this reduced to 20 years imprisonment on appeal in January 2012. During the robbery Mr Chawke tried to seize the pump-action shotgun carried by Ward but fell and was shot in the leg.

Rejecting Ward’s application, President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice Seán Ryan said Ward had not discovered new facts which could show his sentence was a miscarriage of justice.

Ward, who represented himself for the application, claimed his garda Pulse identification number was “branded” on court documents and this prejudiced the sentencing judge against him.

Mr Justice Ryan said the proposition depended on the Pulse files containing prejudicial material over and above anything that was illicited in the trial. He said there was no basis for suggesting that judges had access to Pulse and no basis that judges did in fact access Pulse.

His submission was based on a “total misconception” Mr Justice Ryan said.

Ward further claimed that he was prejudiced by a newspaper article published in the days before his sentencing which alleged he was involved in “all kinds of conspiracy” including a conspiracy to “whack” judges of the Supreme Court and associations he allegedly had with drug barons.

Mr Justice Ryan said it could not be suggested in any realistic terms that a newspaper article could have influenced either the sentencing judge or the Court of Criminal Appeal.

He said judges make solemn declarations to apply the Constitution and the law and Ward’s point did not arise.

The judge also said it was plainly and manifestly wrong to contend, as Ward had, that the Court of Criminal Appeal had abandoned the practice of taking guilty pleas into account.

Mr Justice Ryan, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice George Birmingham, said Ward had not discovered any new facts as required under section 2 of the Criminal Procedures Act 1993 and the court consequently rejected his application.

He was returned to prison where he will serve out the remainder of his sentence.

Ward, who robbed Mr Chawke of almost €50,000, approached his victim and discharged the weapon from a range of six to 12 inches, telling him: “I will sort you out”.

Mr Chawke’s right leg had to be amputated above the knee after the attack.

In 1981 Ward was jailed for 12 years by the Special Criminal Court for his part in an armed robbery at the Bank of Ireland in Stillorgan, during which two gardaí were shot and injured.

Fifteen years later Ward was again jailed for armed robbery; receiving an 11-year sentence for the possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. He shot Mr Chawke just four months after his release from prison for this offence.