Claims made that Garda station bail policy, in place since 2017, has no legal basis, is unlawful and unreasonable


Aodhan O’Faolain, The Irish Times

A man has brought a High Court challenge over a refusal by An Garda Síochána to grant him station bail following his arrest over an alleged breach of a domestic violence order.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, claims he was arrested by gardaí and charged with an offence contrary to the 2018 Domestic Violence Act for allegedly breaching a protection order in respect his estranged wife.

The court heard that at the time of his arrest two years ago, their relationship had completely broken down.

Following his arrest, the man was denied station bail and was detained by gardaí. Despite there being no objections to bail, he did not secure his release from custody until he was brought before a sitting of the District Court.

The man claims he was wrongly denied station bail under the Garda Commissioner’s blanket policy of refusing bail to people accused of breaching domestic violence orders.

The man claims the policy, in place since 2017, has no legal basis, is unlawful and unreasonable.

He also argues the policy amounts to an unlawful breach of his constitutional right to liberty, as well as his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

In his judicial review action against the Garda Commissioner, the man, represented by Arthur Griffin BL, seeks various orders and declarations including an order quashing the decision of members of An Garda Síochána to refuse him station bail following his arrest and charge.

He also seeks an order quashing the Commissioner’s decision to publish and instruct his officers to operate a policy of blanket refusal of bail in cases of alleged breaches of domestic violence orders.

He also wants the court to order the Commissioner to remove what he says is the illegal policy regarding bail from a publication called “Policy of An Garda Síochána on Domestic Abuse Intervention Revised Edition 2017”.

He further seeks various declarations including that the refusal to grant station bail to people accused of breaches of domestic violence orders does not constitute a lawful or reasoned decision, and amounted to a breach of his rights.

Permission to bring the challenge was granted on an ex parte basis by Ms Justice Niamh Hyland on Monday.

Challenges raising similar legal points over the alleged policy regarding the granting of station bail to those accused of breaching such orders have previously come before the High Court.

The man’s action will return before the court later this month.

Monday June 10th 2024