Furious judge slams Forensic Science Ireland as ‘disgrace’ after Drogheda feud case is struck out
A district court judge has slammed Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) for not providing a certificate of analysis in relation to drugs seized almost 14 months ago in the ongoing Drogheda feud.
And because no certificate of analysis was provided as evidence for the court and for the Director of Public Prosecutions to provide directions in the case, the charges against the associate of the so-called Anti Maguire faction, was struck out for want of prosecution.
Slamming FSI, which is based at Garda Headquarters in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, Judge Eirinn McKiernan said “It is a disgrace.
“Drugs are destroying lives and it is disgraceful the drugs were not prioritised [for analysis],” said Judge McKiernan at Monday’s sitting of Drogheda District Court.”
“FSI should be bringing extra staff in. Drugs are causing havoc and causing the majority of crime. And no-one seems to be worrying. Analysis of the drugs does not seem to be high on the agenda,” the judge continued.
“Drugs are torturing children, parents and people,” the judge stated.
The Anti Maguire associate – whose gang are at war associates of paralysed mob boss Owen Maguire – was charged in February 2020 for being in unlawful possession of cannabis and valium tablets for sale or supply. It is understood the drugs had a street value of around €500.
The drugs were sent to FSI for analysis where it uses a number of analytical procedures to determine if a substance is a controlled drug. The results of the analysis are issued in a certificate of analysis that is presented as evidence in the court.
Once the certificate of analysis is received by the prosecuting garda, it is then sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions along with the file, to determine the course it will take in the courts.
These directions were due late last year. However, further time was given to the DPP to provide directions.
But because of the length of time passed, the case was made premetory against the State. This meant that if no directions were provided by Monday, the case may be struck out.
Court presenter John O’Hehir told the court he had been onto FSI “trying to expedite matters.”
But, because 13 months had passed and no certificate of analysis was produced and no DPP directions were received, Judge McKiernan reiterated: “It’s a disgrace it’s not prioritised,” and struck the case out for want of prosecution.
In a separate case at the same court sitting, where a man has been charged with being in unlawful possession of €15,800 worth of cannabis, the court heard there was “an oversight” at FSI where the drugs “were left sitting for a couple of months,” without being tested.
The prosecuting gardai told Judge McKiernan that FSI now have the drugs to analyse since March 10.
“There was an oversight at FSI and the drugs were left sitting there for a couple of months,” the garda said.
The garda said those drugs have since been tested and a file has now gone to the DPP.
Judge McKiernan again remarked FSI should be doing their job
“Directions should be here. The drugs were left sitting there and this is not the defendant’s and the garda’s fault. Everyone else has to do their jobs too.”