The People at the suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions .v. Patrick Monaghan (Drogheda) Limited.   [2014] IECA 52.

In this case, Patrick Monaghan and Company had pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court to breaches of sections 12 and sections 77((9)(a) of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 200, that is that they had failed to manage or conduct their undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, that in the course of the work, that individuals at the place of work (not being their employees) were not exposed to risks to their safety health and welfare.

The circumstances of the case were tragic; the company were stevedores and were loading timber poles at Town Quay in Drogheda on 10 November 2009. A 3 year old child walking along the public quay with his father was hit by a rolling pole, which fatally crushed him. The pole had been intertwined with other stacks and had been caused to move by an employee who was trying to load poles from another stack.  The company had not taken account of the public area and had not established an exclusion zone.

The sentencing court imposed a fine of €25,000 and expenses of €5,290. The maximum penalty for such an offence by a body corporate was €3 million and the DPP submitted that the sentencing judge had erred in law and in fact by imposing such an unduly lenient sentence.

Before the Court of Appeal, a preliminary point was raised by the company that the appeal was out of time. The issue was the manner in which the appeal was served on the company. The company's solicitor had refused to accept service of the appeal.

The Court of Appeal held that there was only one correct way to effect service on the company – under section 10(1) (d) of the Criminal Justice Act 1993 – viz., by delivering it , or sending it by registered post, to the secretary or other officer of the body at its registered or principal office. As that had not occurred in this case, the appeal was out of time and failed for inadequate service. The Court held that none of the other methods of service set out in section 10 applied in this case, – as they related to service on a convicted person, as opposed to a body corporate.

This article contains a general summary of developments and is not a complete or definitive statement of the law. Specific legal advice should be obtained where appropriate.