Innocent until proved guilty – except for Mass card dealers

Letter in this week’s Irish Catholic.


In his article (Irish Catholic; November 24th) on the Fr. Reynolds/RTE defamation case Independent Senator Ronan Mullen asks:

Was the presumption of innocence that should be enjoyed by all citizens replaced by a presumption of guilt in the case of priests?

This is a very important question as the principle of innocent until proved guilty is enshrined in the legal code of all modern democracies as well as in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It would be interesting, therefore, to hear Senator Mullen’s views on Section 99 of the recent Charities Act legislation concerning the sale of Mass cards which states:

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.

Yours etc.
Anthony Sheridan