A man who was jailed for eight years for his part in a number of "vicious and savage assaults" outside a nightclub, which left one man with serious brain injuries, has had an appeal against his conviction and sentence struck out until the case is ready to proceed.
Declan Byrne (35), formerly of Spencer Dock, Sheriff Street, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to one count of violent disorder, contrary to Section 15(1) of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994; one count of causing serious harm, contrary to Section 4 of the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act; and three counts of causing harm, contrary to the same act, in Ashbourne, Co Meath in the early hours of August 1st, 2016.
The jury at his trial at Trim Circuit Court found Byrne guilty in March 2020 and he was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment with 12 months suspended by Judge Martina Baxter.
Byrne, now a prisoner of Midlands Prison, later launched appeals against both conviction and sentence – but proceedings on two previous occasions were adjourned when Byrne changed legal teams at the last minute.
Another appeal hearing was scheduled to take place on Tuesday, following a previous adjournment in March.
However, Byrne’s latest barrister, Keith Spencer BL, told the Court of Appeal that he was requesting yet another adjournment on behalf of his client in order to familiarise himself with the case.
Mr Spencer said he had viewed the CCTV of the incident and had arranged a meeting with Byrne’s previous legal representatives, who had agreed to hand over to him their notes.
Responding to Mr Spencer’s application for an adjournment, Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy said an appeal hearing in the case had already been scheduled for Tuesday.
"What is there to stop him [Byrne] requesting another adjournment, again and again, and again?" asked Ms Justice Kennedy, who was sitting with Mr Justice Séamus Woulfe, presiding, and Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy.
When asked by the bench what the State’s position on the case was, Carl Hanahoe BL, for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), responded: "My application is that the case is to be struck out, with liberty to re-enter."
"We find ourselves in exactly the same situation we did 12 months ago," he said.
Mr Spencer said Mr Hanhoe’s application appeared to be the "sensible solution", adding that his client "can come before the courts when he is good and ready to appeal".
Acceding to the State’s request to strike the appeal out, Mr Justice Woulfe said the court was "concerned about the passage of time since this matter was first listed last July".
Mr Justice Woulfe said Byrne would be "at liberty to re-enter only when all relevant papers have been lodged with the court".