Former Cappoquin-based nun Nora Wall is challenging the alleged refusal of the State to make a decision on her claim for compensation over a miscarriage of justice in her case.
Ms Wall, who was found by the Court of Criminal Appeal in 2005 to have been wrongfully convicted of the rape and indecent assault of a 12-year-old girl at St Michael’s Child Care Centre – managed by the Sisters of Mercy – in the 1980’s, brought her case to the High Court this week.
That conviction had been quashed in July 1999 after it emerged that a crucial witness, Patricia Whelan, admitted she had lied and, in 2005, the Court of Criminal Appeal declared a miscarriage of justice after hearing a “forensic debacle” had led to Ms Wall’s conviction.
The DPP said that had he been aware of significant information which had come to light, the prosecution against Ms Wall and a now deceased homeless man, Paul McCabe, for the alleged rape of the girl would never have been brought.
Her case was also declared a miscarriage of justice by the court on the grounds of newly discovered facts and this automatically entitled her to apply for compensation to the Minister or bring an action for damages.
This week she was given leave to bring a judicial review challenge to the alleged refusal by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to make a decision on her application for compensation under Section 9 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1993.
Mr Justice Michael Peart also ruled that the case is to return to the High Court later in the month for further directions.