The House Always Wins


This morning/afternoon

In 2015, the [Supreme Court] ruled that evidence obtained unconstitutionally could be admitted if a garda claims to have had no knowledge of the breach .

Via The Irish Times:

[The so-called “green garda/good faith” exception) in practice means that a garda can inadvertently breach a citizen’s fundamental rights, such as the right to privacy from the government, without there being any repercussions in relation to the evidence gathered.

….The Irish Council for Civil Liberties  (ICCL) commissioned a report on the impact of the new rule five years out from the decision.

Practitioners said that the greatest impact of the decision is before the case ever gets to trial. Two-thirds of practitioners said they changed their advice to clients after JC because “you know they are not going to win”.

As citizens in a democracy, we may well wonder whether the “real chilling effect”, strong sense of inertia and defeatism that JC has reportedly induced, are qualities we may wish for among criminal law practitioners. Rates of guilty pleas, according to the DPP’s most recent report, now stand at 92 per cent in Ireland.

“While several referenced a drive towards professionalisation of policing in recent years, there was also an acknowledgment that not all elements within the force adhere to high standards.

Experienced practitioners referred during interviews to gardaí lying when giving evidence, threatening to arrest close relatives, planting evidence and physically assaulting clients.”

Ill-effects of change to law on evidence starting to manifest (Irish Times)


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4 thoughts on “The House Always Wins

  1. Eoghan

    The late Justice Adrian Hardiman was aware of how this would pan out. He was on the losing side back in 2015, 3:2 and foresaw the repercussions immediately. Unfortunately his greatness is no longer fighting for such rights and might this Woulfe fella getting all the press lately have taken his vacancy on the Supreme Court?

  2. Barry the Hatchet

    Absolutely none of the things referred to in that last paragraph would be covered by JC.

  3. Cian

    Rates of guilty pleas, according to the DPP’s most recent report, now stand at 92 per cent in Ireland.
    Do innocent people take a guilty plea?
    Or do the DPP only prosecute when they know they have the right person and sufficient evidence?

    One thing that isn’t mentioned is how much evidence is being collected unconstitutionally (but still being allowed) is it all cases? 50% 10% 2%?

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