Donegal solicitor brands DPP delays as “thundering disgrace”

August 28, 2023

A solicitor in Donegal has branded delays from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) as a ‘thundering disgrace’.

Mr Patsy Gallagher was speaking while addressing Letterkenny District Court on Thursday during a case involving Matthew Lafferty, who he represents.

Lafferty, a 35-year-old with an address at Calhame, Letterkenny, is charged with assault causing harm to Michael Mawhinney at Tesco car park in Letterkenny on July 12 last.

The accused has been remanded in custody since he first appeared in court on July 13.

When the case was previously heard, Mr Gallagher had said on the delays: “You could draw a line from Dublin to Galway and forget about above it. That’s the reality.”

On Thursday, Garda Sergeant Gerard Dalton informed the court that directions were not yet available.

“The investigation file is completed and it is with a directing officer,” Sergeant Dalton said. “It was marked urgent and it was moved on. I do believe that we will have directions next week.”

Mr Gallagher asked that the case be marked peremptory against the State.

“While we can’t predetermine the DPP’s view on it, it is a thundering disgrace that we don’t have directions,” Mr Gallagher said. “It has been indicated all along what way this is going and there is no rhyme nor reason why we don’t have directions. The fault lies in Dublin, not with the sergeant or the local gardai and my client has been in custody for six weeks.

Judge Ciaran Liddy adjourned the matter until this Thursday, August 31, and remanded Lafferty in custody. Judge Liddy did not mark the case peremptory against the State, but noted that an application was made.

A previous court sitting heard that Lafferty has 14 previous convictions and there had been 15 bench warrants for him since 2007.

On that occasion, Judge Éiteáin Cunningham refused bail, saying that the prosecution had established a case regarding the likelihood of Lafferty reoffending and the possible interference with witnesses.