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Every citizen of the State enjoys rights conferred by the Constitution. The right to liberty, as set out in Article 40.4.1 is one of the most important of these rights.
It goes without saying that depriving someone of their liberty is extremely serious and that it is something that should only be done when absolutely necessary and, at all times, in accordance with law.
Unfortunately, it is a regular occurrence that persons are detained unlawfully in garda stations, prisons, hospitals and other state controlled institutions. In such instances an application may be made to the High Court requesting the Court to determine whether or not the detention is lawful. The Court may, if it finds the detention to be unlawful, make an order for the immediate release of the detained person. The Court may also make ancillary orders such as quashing a court conviction.
This application, known as habeus corpus, has existed in law for centuries in many countries and is provided for in this jurisdiction by Article 40 of the Irish Constitution. The High Court always deals with such applications as a matter of extreme urgency prioritising them above other business of the court.
If you have concerns over a person’s detention you should contact your solicitor immediately.
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