Costs awarded to defendants after failed Gweebarra prosecutions

The taxpayer is set pay the costs of District Court sittings for the failed prosecution of more than 150 summonses for illegal fishing on the Gweebarra River.

The cases were dropped because the Attorney General decided that a defect in legislation prevented Inland Fisheries Ireland proceeding with the prosecutions, many of which dated back to 2008.

Judge Paul Kelly was asked at Dungloe District Court today to rule on costs.

He said the case had been in court for a considerable period of time since February 2015 before the Attorney General’s decision last March. The prosecution was withdrawn at a very late stage,

If Inland Fisheries Ireland hadn’t the power to prosecute, then the judge said the
case shouldn’t have been brought before the courts. The defence had incurred significant expense.

The judge said his decision on costs in no way related to the merits of the case itself. He had not been called on to decide the issue of fishing rights on the river, which were before higher courts.

He made an order for costs in the case of all the defendants charged with illegal fishing, and adjourned the hearing to March 13 to permit the prosecution and defence agree the amount of costs.