Dáil Éireann - Volume 492 - 16 June, 1998

Written Answers. - Court Cases.

287. Mrs. Owen asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform whether he has investigated the circumstances surrounding a court case (details supplied) where a young person was convicted of abusive behaviour and where there now exists a strong indication to his parents that a miscarriage of justice took place; and whether he could seek to avail of a Presidential pardon. [14021/98]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): I have not investigated the circumstances surrounding the court case mentioned by the Deputy. The courts are, subject only to the Constitution and the law, independent in the exercise of their judicial functions and it is not open to me to comment or to intervene in any way on the conduct or decision of any individual court case which is a matter entirely for the presiding judge. A variety of factors are taken into account by the judge in deciding on any particular case and a decision is reached by reference to the conclusions he or she has drawn after trying the case, hearing the evidence presented and assessing the circumstances of the case.

As regards the question of whether the person concerned should seek a presidential pardon, the Deputy will appreciate that it is outside the scope of my official functions to give legal advice.

However, I can confirm that the Criminal Procedure Act, 1993 provides remedies in cases where it is alleged that a miscarriage of justice has occurred and the existing appeal procedures have been exhausted. I am obliged to consider petitions for presidential pardon made to me in accordance with the provisions of section 7 of the Act of 1993.