irish water judge halting challenge high court
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A protester charged with obstructing Irish Water has brought a High Court challenge aimed at halting his prosecution. Stephen Bennett (44), Pearse Green, Sallynoggin, Dublin, is facing charges before Dublin and Dún Laoghaire District Courts under section 12 of the Water Service Act 2007, for allegedly obstructing the company in exercising its powers.
In proceedings against the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) he wants the court to prohibit his prosecution. Mr Bennett, represented by Micheál P O’Higgins SC , argues the DPP has no power to prosecute the offences under the 2007 Act.
Mr O’Higgins said the Water Services Act provides the only entity that can bring summary proceedings under the Act is a water services authority. His side’s case was the DPP is not a water services authority. Counsel for the DPP maintained the director was fully entitled to proceed to prosecute Mr Bennett.
Mr Justice Richard Humphreys said he was satisfied to grant Mr Bennett permission to bring his action. The judge placed a stay on the prosecutions proceeding pending the outcome of the High Court action and returned the matter to next month.