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Ask Ronan Your Own Question
Ronan, Solicitor
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 2253
Experience:  B. Corp Law, Ll.B. Dip Comm Prop. In general practice for more then 6 years
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My wife brought a malicious claim of abuse to the courts,

Customer Question

My wife brought a malicious claim of abuse to the courts, received a interim protection order followed by (I represented myself) full hearing for a safety order. Unfortunately this was granted for two years which I appealed. While waiting for the appeal to be heard and a date confirmed she requested my attendance to the family home to collect the children as she was unwell. She then claimed to be in fear and made another accusation I put her in fear by shouting at one of our children which never happened. I was held for 3 consecutive days as a result of this as it was a weekend and I was not allowed to be released until I was presented before a judge. I should mention I have never had any issue in terms of breaking the law and have never been on the police system prior to this. The DPP decided to prosecute me, I had numerous court appearances at district court level where I had to represent myself as I didn't have the financial means to pay a solicitor and carry on with court ordered maintenance. I chose to keep the maintenance payments instead. I indicated to the judge that the original order is in appeal, I was never served a book of evidence and I was summons several time only for it to be deferred on each and every occasion. The other party claimed I arrived uninvited and I provided the messages of requests to attend the property. While the judge took this into account he ordered a probation report. I attended several meetings with the probation officer where they indicated that the only reason I am in their system is because I was found guilty. I was surprised this was the case. At this time the original appeal was still not heard and the judge made a decision to dismiss without conviction which I've been informed is finding me guilty of something I didn't do which is a black stain against my character. Several months later I had the original retrial for the original safety order struck out. My questions are, why did I not receive the book of evidence and get I request this after the fact. I wanted to appeal the decision, although its not a conviction on paper it has assumed my guilt which is not the case. Many solicitors are reluctant to take this case, in fact I can't find one. Can I be found guilty of an offence when the original order is under appeal and subsequently stuck out. This was at district court level and I was very surprised I was allowed to be held in a station from Saturday 2pm until Monday 1pm. I am completely innocent and this black stain is having an impact on judges views during family court hearings so I'd like some advice how I can address these issues in the interest of justice.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Expert:  Ronan replied 11 months ago.

To deal with the questions you've asked. It is first helpful to explain you are dealing with 2 separate sets of proceedings. 1. A family law application by your wife for a safety order which was granted and you subsequently appealed. 2. A criminal prosecution by the DPP for an alleged breach of a safety order

1. You did not receive a book of evidence in relation to the criminal matter because the case was before the District Court and not the Circuit Court. You would have received only the complainant's statement and any witness statements

2. There is nothing to appeal with regard to the criminal matter, if the case was dismissed then there is no conviction. There is no conviction against you.

3. Yes, you could be found guilty of the offence (However you weren't). What you were appealing was the District Court Safety Order. This was in place at the time of the alleged offence not withstanding that you had appealed it. An appeal in family law matters does not stay the order. So even on successful appeal of the Safety order. You could conceivable be guilty of breaching the order between the date of the order being made in the District Court and youe appeal being allowed in the Circuit Court

4. Once you were charged with the offence they had to bring you before a Court as soon as possible. Presumably that was Monday

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
This is all accurate, however it was dismissed without conviction and the probation services said I've been found guilty otherwise I would not be attending probation for the final report. Regardless of the fact if there is a conviction or not, I'm unhappy that I was found guilty for something that didn't happen and it is a stain against my good name. It is in fact being used in the family proceedings by the opposing counsel. I also find it hard to believe that a man can be detained from Saturday until Monday on the basis that one person claims to be in fear and I must be arrested on the spot. If this is all accurate, technically someone could obtain a safety order on a innocent party and continuously claim fear on sight resulting in the innocent party being detained. I never received any statements either or the alleged offence other than a yellow slip saying the accused arrived to the victims property (Which so happens to be the family home) and placed her in fear. That was the extent of it. I had 5 hearings and 4 probation meetings as a result.
Expert:  Ronan replied 11 months ago.

What you are saying doesn't make sense. If the case was dismissed there is no obligation on you to engage with the Probation service. You either were or weren't convicted. If you weren't there is nothing to appeal and no engagement with the probation service

Whether you find it hard to believe or not with regard to your detention that is the law once you are charged they are entitled to detain you.

It is most unusual that you did not receive statements and you should inquire with the solicitor that act for you at the time as to whether he received them

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I was not convicted, I was instructed to attend the probation services and I attended 5 meetings. It was then dismissed without conviction at a final hearing. I self represented and received no paperwork from the Gardaí other than the yellow sheet.