“delay did not outweigh the community’s interest”

In the Dublin High Court, Mr Justice John Quirke has ruled that the trial of prominent Provisional IRA member Brendan McFarlane will go ahead. McFarlane had launched a second attempt to have charges against him – in relation to the kidnapping of businessman Don Tidey in 1983 – dropped in May this year after the Irish Supreme Court overturned a 2003 High Court ruling. Update Sinn Féin have released a statement on the ruling.From the RTÉ report

But this morning Mr Justice Quirke found that Mr McFarlane had not established that culpable or blameworthy delay within the State’s court process had affected or interfered with any rights enjoyed by Mr McFarlane.

He also found that if there had been a culpable or blameworthy delay on the part of the prosecuting authorities, that delay was not of a kind which would warrant prohibition of Mr McFarlane’s trial.

Justice Quirke also found that any increased levels of stress, anxiety or inconvenience caused to Mr McFarlane by the delay did not outweigh the community’s interest in having the alleged offences prosecuted to a conclusion.

Update Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh, TD, has issued a statement

“The decision of the Supreme Court to allow a trial to proceed in a case where the Guards have lost the supposed evidence is deeply flawed and nonsensical.

“Republicans will be angered by this turn of events. Brendan McFarlane is a solid supporter of the Peace Process and Sinn Féin will continue to demand the end of this judicial farce.”