Local Judge Eirinn McKiernan has described the legal aid system as 'a joke' after being told a defendant was unable to attend Dundalk District Court, as had a holiday booked in Majorca.
Bernard Joyce (24) with an address at the time at Bay 9, Woodland Park, Dundalk had been due to have a book of evidence served on him for charges of affray at Woodland Park on April 17th last year, and allegedly producing an iron bar in the course of a dispute.
The Defence solicitor informed the court last Wednesday morning that her client was not present as he was in Majorca.
She explained that he wasn't expecting to have to be in the country and had the holiday booked, before his case - which had been listed last week, was "block adjourned".
Referring to her notes, Judge Eirinn McKiernan remarked that Mr. Joyce had not attended on September first as a Covid test was booked for that date.
When the judge asked why it wasn't brought to the State's attention, the solicitor explained she had told him the case was going back to October and it was only later in the day that the adjourned date was brought forward.
Judge McKiernan said: "He's away on holiday and he's assigned legal aid. It's a joke - the whole system".
The judge added:"If he's feeding me porkies - it's a very serious matter" and put back the case to later in the list, so evidence of the trip could be produced.
When it was recalled a barrister told the court he had received confirmation of the defendant's itinerary.
He added the accused was booked to fly out with his family that evening.
Judge McKiernan put back the case to October 6th and extended time for service of the book of evidence.
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