A DISTRICT Court judge has ruled that a person charged with alleged offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act as a male but who now identifies as a female is properly before the court.
In Castlebar District Court today, Judge Fiona Lydon granted an application by Superintendent Joe McKenna, on behalf of the State, to amend the name on the summonses to reflect the person's identity.
The application had been objected to by Ms. Nicola Daly, solicitor, representing the accused. She argued that the person named on the summonses no longer exists and any attempt to amend any summons would compromise the person's constitutional and human rights under the Gender Recognition Act.
Having considered the submissions from both the prosecution and the defence and having heard evidence today from the arresting garda and the member in charge on the night the person was detected with a quantity of drugs, Judge Lydon said she would amend the name on all four summonses to reflect the legal identity of the accused.
“In doing so, I'm acknowledging and endorsing her constitutional, statutory and human rights,” she stated.
Garda James O'Brien, who arrested the accused on June 6, 2017, said he knew the person as a male prior to the night in question and introduced her to the member in charge using the male name that he knew. At all times the person signed her former male name on documents in the garda station.
Garda Sarah McLoughlin, who was the member in charge on the night, said the accused did not object to her former male name being recorded, and nor did she tell witness of any other name she was was known by. She singed her former male name in the custody record on receiving her notice of rights and again when her property was being returned to her as she was leaving the station.
Both gardaí said they were satisfied the person before the court was the person they had met on the night in question.
After considering the evidence and submissions made on the day and those made previously in writing, Judge Lydon said she was satisfied that the accused, as identified by Garda O'Brien and Garda McLoughlin, was the person charged with the alleged offences.
Those alleged offences consist of two charges of possession of a controlled drug and two charges of possession for the purpose of sale or supply. The return date for the hearing is January 16 next.