29 Jan 2022

DPP orders 30% of Longford cases not to be prosecuted

An insight into the types of Longford based criminal case files dealt with by the State prosecutor is revealed for the first time this week.

In a series of documents obtained by the Longford Leader under the auspices of the Freedom of Information Act, they also show how much the State has paid lawyers in prosecuting defendants at District and Circuit Court level.

Between 2015 and 2017, the taxpayer has coughed up almost €500,000 in bringing suspects before court sittings on behalf of the DPP.

Approximately €480,315 was paid out to legal professionals and barristers acting for the State between 2015 and the end of last year.

The figures, which were released under Freedom of Information legislation to the Leader, also include payments made to the county’s state solicitor offices over the same intervening period.

Documents from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) showed an overall payout of €163,172 in 2015.

More than €122,000 of this went towards state solicitor fees with the remaining €41,000 going to counsel allowances.

The following year saw a slight dip, courtesy of a total distribution of €155,944 in counsel and state solicitor payments.

Last year, that figure rose to €161,199. More than three quarters of that total accounted for state solicitor fees while €36,731 went towards counsel allowances.

In terms of the amounts and types of files returned by the DPP to Longford and Granard Garda Divisions, almost half last year related to serious assaults and damage to property.

Over 40 per cent of files last year were sent back to garda superintendents directing cases to go before a judge and jury at Circuit Court level.
Around 30 per cent of cases came back stating that suspects who had been charged had no case to answer.

A further 30 per cent, or 20 files carried a direction for various individuals before the courts to be sent forward for trial.

An additional 28 cases were eventually heard before Judge Seamus Hughes in the District Court while a further eight files were still pending direction by the end of December.

This represented a slight drop on the 85 files sent to DPP Claire Loftus' offices in 2016.

The figures also uncover a gradual upturn in the number of files sent for direction involving cases from the Granard Garda District.

In 2015, just 19 files were compiled, compared to 49 files in Longford.
Within the space of two years, that figure more than doubled to 32, approximately 12 below that of the Longford Garda Division.

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