FRIDAY’S court sitting in Kilmallock must go down as one of the shortest ever.
Judge Marie Keane sat at 10.35am before rising at 11.01am. There were more officers of the court present than defendants.
A number of cases were adjourned, one was struck out, disclosure orders were applied for, a short case went ahead and a number of bench warrants were issued. Kilmallock Court, which was officially opened after a €2.5 million refurbishment in July 2010, is now sitting four days a month.
In January 2014, solicitors were furious when it was reduced to four days after the Charleville day was moved to Mallow. Charleville gardai had to go to an already busy Mallow Court instead of nearby Kilmallock. On Friday, one solicitor noted there was a number of cases in the Limerick Leader that were cases from the Bruff garda area, but were heard in an already packed city district court.
Responding to a query a spokesperson for the Courts Service said it finished very quickly on Friday “for a very specific reason”.
“There were 19 cases in the list involving 15 accused. This included a case which was listed to be heard in full and was expected to take no less than two hours of the court’s day, thus time was allocated for that.
“This case did not go ahead as expected, and thus the court did finish at 11.01am. On Tuesday, October 20 the court finished at 1pm as business was completed,” said the spokesperson. They said these two examples are the exception.
“Kilmallock has four scheduled sitting days per month – three criminal and one family law. We have analysed court sitting times for the period between January and July this year.
“The average sitting time in Kilmallock was of six hours duration – which equates to a long court day,” said the spokesperson, who added that all Go Safe traffic summonses for the District Court area of Limerick are heard in Kilmallock.
Chairman of the Cappamore/Kilmallock municipal district and solicitor, Cllr Bill O’Donnell said it was crazy that when the facility was being designed that they left out something as fundamental as a jury box.
“Why did they limit a possible 50 per cent of their work by not including a jury box. They narrowed their options, there can be no criminal trials. Criminal trials are being taken into Limerick that could otherwise have been heard by judge and jury in Kilmallock,” said Cllr O’Donnell
Deputy Niall Collins said the fact that cases are being transferred onto the city district court list and away from Kilmallock needs explaining.
“Is it to do with a lack of adequate garda resources in the Bruff district? People in the wider Kilmallock area campaigned for the retention and improvement of the court and they are asking why isn’t it being used to its full potential and capacity. I will be raising this with the Minister for Justice,” said Deputy Collins.