Summonses adjourned in Ballina


JUDGE Dan Shields will hear submissions on the validity of summonses and the status of the appointments of District Court clerks at Ballina District Court on March 25th, he said yesterday when he adjourned further summonses to that court.

Two weeks ago the judge ruled that summonses signed by an official in the court clerk's office were invalid, as the official had not been formally appointed until last month.

He struck out charges against 16 defendants, including allegations of dangerous and drunken driving, larceny and public order offences.

Mr Peter Loftus, a local solicitor, has argued that the relevant Act stated specifically that District Court clerks must be appointed by the Minister for Justice.

The judge had adjourned Mr Loftus's submissions for mention until yesterday. He had agreed it was a matter of public interest, which could be considered by the High Court. This, he said, could be done by Mr Loftus applying for an order of prohibition, or by the District Court making a decision and either the prosecution or the defence appealing it.

The judge will give his decision at the March court.