Written Answers. - Criminal Prosecutions.

Trevor Sargent

Question:

829 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will report on measures his Department is taking to protect a person (details supplied) after bail has been granted to the person awaiting charges of stalking, harassment and assault; the measures, if any, he proposes to secure the safety of the plaintiff and her family while the person charged with this crime continues to threaten the victim; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1604/99]

As this case is currently before the courts, I do not propose to comment other than to say that I am informed by the Garda authorities that they are satisfied that arrangements appropriate to the circumstances of this case are in place to ensure the safety of the person to whom the Deputy refers.

Dick Spring

Question:

830 Mr. Spring asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason for the delay in providing a transcript of a criminal trial (details supplied) in view of the fact the person in question in unable to have his appeal set down for hearing without the transcript being available. [1649/99]

As the courts are, subject only to the Constitution and the law, independent in the exercise of their judicial functions the Deputy, will appreciate that it is not open to me to intervene or comment on the conduct of any individual case.

I have, however, had inquiries made in this case and I understand that the relevant transcript has recently been furnished to the Court of Criminal Appeal and the case can now be entered in the next available list to fix a date for hearing.

Due to vacancies in the grade of court stenographer, the criminal courts have found it necessary to utilise the services of stenographers from private agencies, as happened in this instance. Coupled with the pressure of work in the courts, this has resulted in difficulties in the early provision of transcripts.

At my Department's request the Civil Service Commission has arranged a competition for the recruitment of stenographers and suitably qualified candidates will shortly be called for interview. In the meantime consultations are being held with the private agencies providing a stenography service to the criminal courts with a view to expediting the completion of transcripts.