By Anthony Sheridan
There seems to be a great deal of worry amongst Irish establishment figures that the Brazilians may not grant Pat Hickey the protection of the almost universal principle of ‘Innocent until proven guilty’.
Here’s former CEO of the FAI Fran Rooney on RTE yesterday.
It’s a real concern that the men’s presumption of innocence is being ignored… the whole presumption of innocence is a key issue here.
In light of the above comments it will no doubt come as a great shock to barrister Fran Rooney to learn that the ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ principle does not apply universally in Ireland.
It will come as an even greater shock to anxious establishment figures like Rooney to learn that the principal was abandoned to protect the multi-million Euro Mass card monopoly enjoyed by the Catholic Church.
Any Irish citizen who sells (even one) a Mass card without the express permission of a Catholic bishop is guilty of an offence which may result in a ten year prison sentence and/or a fine of €300,000.
This law is even more draconian than that enacted to combat ruthless drug lords. If (Catholic) Brazilian politicians were to enact such a law Irish establishment figures like Ryan Tubridy, for example, would be choking on their breakfast cereal.
To copper-fasten the law and ensure no citizen dares challenge the financial interests of the Catholic Church Irish politicians inserted the following section into the Charities Act 2009:
(2): In proceedings for an offence under this section it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved on the balance of probabilities, that the sale of the Mass card to which the alleged offence relates was not done pursuant to an arrangement with a recognised person.
So there you have it – in Irish legislation – in black and white – Guilty unless you can prove you are innocent.