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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 10983
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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My office in Ireland was searched by An Garda Siochana in October

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My office in Ireland was searched by An Garda Siochana in October 2011 and some docemtns taken by them. In January 2012, I was interviewed by them, by invitation, regarding thsdi documents, to which i relied that I did not wish to comment. I have heard nothing from them since. After such a lapse of time could the principal "Justice delayed is justice denied " be argued sucessfully in any future prosecution or is there case law to cover this kind of situation.
1. Dear *****, the first thing you need to be aware of, is that there is no time limit upon criminal prosecutions in Ireland. This means that criminal prosecutions can be brought many years after the fact. It is in extremely rare circumstances that delay is a form of defence to a criminal prosecution. Many criminal cases involving delay are dealt with by the judge simply issuing a warning to the jury to take account of the delay in deciding the case. So the prospects of successfully arguing delay are limited in Ireland.
2. In order to successfully argue delay in Ireland, you have to show manifest prejudice based upon evidence not being available or upon some element of the trial being unfair because evidence is no longer available, such as where someone has died and they were going to provide an alibi. However, these factual issues would be raised by way of judicial review once a trial date for the criminal trial has been set. The judicial review effectively decides whether the prosecution would be unfair or not.
3. I appreciate more than four years have gone bye since your office has been raided. Such a delay would not be sufficient to argue delay in the normal course of events. You will have to go further and show manifest prejudice by the delay. I regret to say the principle "justice delayed is justice denied" is honoured by its breach in Irish law.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the comprehensive answer to my query. Just one related question which refers to Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that " everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an impartial and independent tribunal established by law." It does not define "reasonable time." Would that have any bearing on my situation of over 4 yrs waiting ? Thank you
5. Article 6 caselaw does not support your case that four years is excessive for a strike out of any action. Here, the case is only in the investigative phase. There has been no prosecution as of yet, so this clause in Article 6 has not been activated yet. There has been no limit placed on how long the investigative phase of a criminal case can be, as of yet.