Judge Kevin Kilrane said he wants a case of assault causing harm to be brought to a conclusion.
The case involving Stephen Flynn, 14 Knocklongford, Mohill came before Judge Kilrane again at Carrick-on-Shannon District Court last Monday.
Mr Flynn had entered guilty pleas at a special sitting of Carrick-on-Shannon District Court on December 9, 2019 to assault causing harm to Padraig McLoughlin at Spirit Bar, Main St, Mohill on July 21, 2018, and threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour at Gordon's Cosy Corner Public House, Main St, Mohill on May 31, 2018.
At that court, Judge Deirdre Gearty ordered that Mr Flynn gather a sum of €4,050 in compensation and she adjourned the case until April 6, 2020 for the production of a probation report and to assess the defendant's suitability for community service.
Due to the Covid pandemic the case was not heard in April and was listed again for July 28.
On that occasion Judge Kilrane, who knows both parties and did not wish to hear the case, transferred the case to the vacation sittings in Donegal on August 5 where Judge Gearty was sitting.
At the Carrick-on- Shannon District Court sitting on September 7, Judge Kilrane was informed the defendant, Stephen Flynn, had changed his plea in Donegal and the case would have to be re-litigated.
At last Monday's sitting, John Gerard Cullen, solicitor representing Mr McLoughlin, questioned why the case had been transferred to Donegal and remarked there had been “a somewhat momentous decision made to discontinue the prosecution.”
Judge Kilrane said Judge Gearty had been assigned to that area (Donegal) for the vacation sittings in August and he transferred the case to there as she had already heard it and he was anxious for the matter to be concluded and to ascertain what was happening with regard to the compensation.
“Amazingly, Judge Gearty set aside the totality of the order,” he said.
“I had no idea what was happening in the case. It was transferred to her to ascertain what was happening with regard to the compensation and for a probation report,” Judge Kilrane said.
He said he had wanted progress in the case and for Judge Gearty to conclude it. He said there was no reason why it couldn't have been concluded, the defendant had pleaded guilty and the only matter was the issue of compensation being paid.
Mr Cullen said it appears the case is now in for a new hearing as Mr Flynn told the judge he never pleaded guilty.
Judge Kilrane confirmed that was the order made by Judge Gearty.
“Rather inexplicably, and without further investigation, Judge Gearty set aside the order she made,” Judge Kilrane said.
Taking the stand last Monday, Padraig McLoughlin said he didn't understand what had happened and he was going to continue with the case. He said Stephen Flynn had pleaded guilty to the offences.
Mr McLoughlin said the case is “wrecking his health.”
“I want this dealt with as soon as possible,” he said and added that he had met with the local Superintendent and Sergeant last week on the matter.
“It's very hard for me to have faith in the justice system,” he stated.
Judge Kilrane told Mr McLoughlin that he has listened to him and he repeated that he cannot understand the order made by Judge Gearty for the case to be reheard.
Judge Kilrane told Mr Cullen the registrar has applied to the President of the District Court for another judge to be assigned to hear the case.
“All I can do is indicate to the President's office the urgency to bring this to a conclusion,” Judge Kilrane said.
Mr Cullen made an application for Digital Audio Recordings (DAR) of the courts in Carrick-on- Shannon on April 6, July 28 and September 7 as well from the Donegal District Court sitting on August 5.
Orla Ellis, solicitor, who had previously represented Mr Flynn and has since come off record, also applied for DAR recordings from April 6 in Carrick-on-Shannon and August 5 in Donegal.
Both applications were granted.
Judge Kilrane asked Mr Flynn if he wished to say anything but he declined.
He put the case back to November 2 next with liberty to re-enter if there is a judge available to hear it in the meantime.