Former biochemist at blood board entitled to legal costs

 

The Supreme Court has ruled a former principal biochemist at the Blood Transfusion Service Board, Cecily Cunningham, is entitled to the costs of her legal challenge aimed at halting her trial on charges relating to the infection of seven women with hepatitis C from contaminated blood products.

The judicial review was initiated in 2003, and after the High Court refused in 2007 to halt the trial, Ms Cunningham appealed to the Supreme Court.

While her appeal was pending, the Director of Public Prosecutions decided later in 2007 to withdraw the charges against her, and in those circumstances the appeal was deemed “moot” or pointless.

The only other person charged in connection with the hepatitis C saga was Dr Terry Walsh, formerly assistant national director with the blood board. His death led to the proceedings against him collapsing.

Ms Cunningham, of Hollybrook Road, Clontarf, Dublin, had sought her legal costs for both the High Court and Supreme Court proceedings.

The DPP opposed this, and said he was satisfied a criminal prosecution was properly brought.