The Clerk of each Court area keeps a minute book in which is entered all cases other than those in which particulars of offences are entered in charge sheets which are for hearing at sittings of the Court for that area.
To enable effect to be given to the decision of the Court and to enable an order to be drawn up if required, the judge shall on pronouncing his decision cause the memorandum of that decision to be made in a minute book or charge sheet as appropriate. The Clerk shall attach a note of the decision to the relevant Court file. No alteration shall be made to the memorandum except by the judge who made it.
Where a person is lawfully before a Court for trial for an offence and the trial is being held without a jury, the Court has the same jurisdiction and powers to give any verdict or make any finding, as the Court or jury would have, if the Court was sitting with jury and the offence was triable on indictment. Rules of law relating to a verdict or finding of jury shall with any necessary modification apply accordingly.
Where a person is lawfully before a Court, charged with an offence, the Court shall have jurisdiction to convict the person on a plea of guilty of another offence with which he is not specifically charged and which, he could be convicted by that Court after a trial for the offence specifically charged. A judge may enter a verdict for a lesser offence only where authorised by statute or where a new complaint is made by the complainant.
An order made recording a decision of a judge of the District Court shall when signed by any judge or other than in a case of an order sending an accused forward for trial, the District Court Clerk assigned to the District shall be evidence in legal proceedings until the contrary is shown. Signature by a rubber stamp is as valid as by hand.
Where an order in any case of summary jurisdiction is required, the order shall be drawn up by the Clerk for the Court area and shall be signed by the judge. The Clerk shall retain a copy in his or her custody. Any person having a bona fide interest in the matter may up on payment of a prescribed fee obtain a certified copy of the order from the Clerk.
Clerical mistakes in decrees, order or warrants or errors arising in them may be corrected at any time by the Court.
Where a Court makes an order in a case of summary jurisdiction, including striking out for want of jurisdiction, it shall have power to order any party to the proceedings, other than the DPP or a member of An Garda Síochána acting in discharges of his duties as a police officer to pay the other party, such cost and witness expenses as it shall think fit to award.
On adjournment of any proceedings, the Court may order that a party shall pay any cost or witness expenses incurred on such adjournment independently of any order otherwise made in the case. Witness expenses ordered to be paid shall be payable in such manner and to such person as the Court shall direct. Where there is no provision in the rules for enforcement of an order awarding cost or witness expenses, such costs or expenses may be recovered by warrant of distress.
The Court Poor Box refers to a jurisdiction exercised by Courts in a criminal case requiring making of a payment to charity, generally on the basis that no conviction will be recorded against the defendant. In some cases, the payment is made into the Court for distribution to charities by the Court.
It is commonly used in public order type offences, although, it is also used to in a range of other offences. The amount paid typically varies with the gravity of the offence, means of the offender and the practice of the particular judge. Most payments are less than €1,000, commonly significantly less.
Payments may be made directly to a charity or to the Probation and Welfare Service or to the Gardai. Most commonly, the District Court exercise its discretion to distribute monies to various charitable organisations, in accordance with judges’ directions. It is not unusual for the payment to be required in connection with a dismissal of the offence under the Probation of Offenders Act.
The Criminal Justice Act provides power to suspend a jail sentence with a view to facilitating the rehabilitation of the offender. Where a person is sentenced to a term of imprisonment, other than mandatory term by the Court, the Court may make an order suspending the execution of the sentence in whole or in part, subject to the person entering a recognisance to comply with the conditions imposed in the order.
It shall be a condition of the order that the person in respect of whom the order is made, shall keep the peace and be of good behaviour during the period of suspension. The Court may impose such conditions as it considers appropriate, having regard to the nature of the offence and which it believes would reduce the likelihood of the person in respect of whom the order is made committing any other offence. The conditions are to be specified in the order.
The Court may in conjunction with the suspension of a sentence of imprisonment, in whole or in part, impose conditions including
- that the person may cooperate with the Probation and Welfare Service to the extent specified by the Court for the purpose of his rehabilitation and protection of the public;
- that the person undergo treatment for drug, alcohol, substance addiction;
- Course of education, therapy or training;
- Psychological counselling and treatment as may be approved by the Court;
- That the person be subject to the supervision of the probation and welfare service.
The condition is to be specified in the order.
A probation officer may at any time before expiration of the sentence, apply to the Court for imposition of any conditions above.
Where a Court makes an order of the type above, it is to give a copy to An Garda Síochána and in the case of a partial suspension, the governor of the relevant prison.
When a person is convicted of an offence during the period of suspension of sentence, Court before which proceedings for the offence are brought shall before imposing sentence, remand the person in custody or bail to the next sitting of the Court that made the order. The Court, to which a person has been remanded unless it considers that the revocation would be unjust in all the circumstances, shall revoke the order and the person shall be required to serve the entirety of the sentence originally imposed by the Court or the suspended part.
Where an order is revoked, the person against whom the order applied may appeal against revocation to the Court would have had jurisdiction to hear an appeal against the conviction or sentence.
The The Criminal Justice Administration Act 1914 provides that where a Court has summary jurisdiction has power to pass a sentence of imprisonment, the Court may in lieu of so passing a sentence of imprisonment, order that the offender be detained within the precincts of the Court or any police station till such hour, not later than eight in the evening, as the Court may direct. The Court before making such an order, must take into account the distance between the place of detention and their defendents abode where obtainable and shall not make an order as will deprive the offender of a reasonable opportunity of returning to his abode on the day on which such order is made.
And order of dismissal is equivalent to a dismissal on the merit. It determines the matter one way or the other and determines it subject only to appeal. Dismissal without prejudice is limited to cases
- where there is a technical failure of proof and the judge is of the opinion that fresh proceedings should be brought and
- where the accused is present at the required time and place and the prosecutor is not present as an alternative to striking out or adjourning the complaint. A fresh summons is based on the original complaint.
A strike out may be appropriate where the accuser is present and the prosecutor or his representatives are not present. Alternatively, the case may be dismissed without prejudice or adjourned.
Where the Court is of the opinion that the complaint before it discloses no offence at law or if neither prosecutor nor accused appears, the summons may be struck out.
The case may be withdrawn with the consent of the judge. Where alternative charges are brought on the same actual basis, then if the judge convicts on one charge, a second charged may be marked as withdrawn. Where a summons is withdrawn and no order is made, fresh proceedings may be brought.