31 May 2006

State seeks urgent appeal in Mr A case

RTÉ

31 May 2006 12:15

The Supreme Court has been asked by the State to hear an urgent appeal on Friday against yesterday's High Court decision to release a man jailed for the statutory rape of a 12-year-old girl.

Laffoy, the woman judge who let the child raper go free

The Chief Justice, Mr Justice John Murray, said the answers to the complex issues raised by the case do not pop out of a self-service machine.

The court has risen to consider the written submissions and decide how soon the matter can come before them.

Meanwhile, the Tánaiste has told the Dail she shared the public outrage following the ruling.

Mary Harney said the Department of Justice was informed about the case in 2002 by the Chief State Solicitors Office and that there was an information deficit.

She said even if the Government had changed the law at the outset of the case involving Mr A it could not have been applied retrospectively.

Mary Harney also said that the Government never anticipated losing the Supreme Court case which led to his release.

She said the State's Supreme Court appeal would determine the outcome of other similar cases.

Gaping hole in law: Rabbitte

The Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, described the Government as a headless gang of bunglers while the Labour leader Pat Rabbitte said it was disgraceful that young people were at risk and there was now a gaping hole in the law.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usMr A walked free after the High Court ruled that his continuing detention was unlawful following last week's Supreme Court striking down of the law on statutory rape.

Protected 'Mr A' - free to rape again

He had been jailed for three years in 2004 after pleading guilty to unlawful carnal knowledge of a 12-year-old girl.

Yesterday, counsel for the State had asked the High Court to keep Mr A in prison to give the State time to go to the Supreme Court to ask what the judgment meant from a technical point of view.

However, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy refused to continue the man's detention.

Govt to rush emergency legislation

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Government intends to rush emergency legislation through the Oireachtas next Wednesday following the High Court decision.

Yesterday, the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, said he was prepared to recall the Dáil and Seanad next week if legislation dealing with the fall out from last week's ruling is ready.

Mr Ahern was responding to strong attacks from opposition leaders who accused the Government of incompetence and complacency in the face of the decision.

Last night, the Government Chief Whip, Tom Kitt, told a meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party that both houses would sit next Wednesday to deal with the new legislation.

The legal changes are still under consideration by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the Attorney-General's office.

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