Waiting time for contested cases at Limerick District Court is almost four months

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

CONCERNS are growing about the delays in hearing contested criminal cases at Limerick District Court.

CONCERNS are growing about the delays in hearing contested criminal cases at Limerick District Court.

There is now a waiting time of almost four months as there are no vacant dates remaining in April, May or June.

The strains were highlighted last Thursday when a visiting judge called for the introduction of a new system of setting dates for contested cases in the city.

Judge John O’Neill made his comments as he adjourned nine cases en-masse due to the length of the list on the day saying it was “grossly unfair” to expect people to wait in court all day in the hope that their cases would proceed.

There were over fifty cases listed last Thursday in addition to the applications list and more than 200 parking summonses.

The judge said there were nine contested cases which, he estimated, would take around nine hours to be heard.

He said each of cases deserved “attention and consideration” and shouldn’t “be pushed into a couple of hours.”

The judge apologised as he adjourned the cases to dates in June and July instead.

The cases ranged from alleged road traffic offences to assault.

Prosecuting inspector Seamus Ruane requested that the cases be adjourned to different dates in June and July in order to a avoid a repeat scenario.

Judge O’Neill agreed saying: “It does not make sense to have too many cases listed on one day.”

The judge also commented that, where possible, special days should be set aside for contested cases instead of listed them with other court business.

“Surely some sort of system should be developed,” he said adding that the current system is “not fair”.

Judge O’Neill is not the first judge to publicly express concerns about the workload at Limerick District Court.

Last year. Judge Timothy Lucey said the length of the court lists in the city were “wrong and counter-productive”.