18-month legal argument gets date

A debate between the State and a woman about the public nature of a pub will finally be heard next month, a year and a half after the alleged offence took place, it was revealed in the District Court this week (October 28 ).

In court was Ms Rose Joyce (28 ), with an address in Battery Heights, Athlone, who was pleading not guilty to a public order charge stemming from an alleged row in Val Beaumont’s pub on Connacht Street at 2.10am on June 22, 2008.

Joyce’s solicitor, Mr Padraig Quinn, argued again this week that central to a public order charge under the 1994 Act are the words “in a public place” and, as the alleged offence occurred after closing time, that under licencing laws the pub could not be regarded as a public place.

Judge John Neilan then asked Superintendent Aidan Glacken what was the State’s position in this argument.

Pointing out the charge against Joyce came under a Public Order Act as opposed to the Licencing Act, he told the court that under this, the definition of a public place allowed for “the permission of the owner or the implied permission of the owner”.

Supt Glacken gave evidence that at the time of the alleged offence the front doors of the public house in question “were open, not locked and people could freely come and go”.

“The publican could be doing off-sales legally [at this time] - selling bottled water - and it would still be a public place,” argued the superintendent.

Judge Neilan noted the defendant’s guilty plea and declared: “It would be inappropriate to make any further comment.”

He set November 26 as the date for hearing the case in full.

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