The High Court ruled that there is a constitutional principle of reasonable expedition. There is nothing in the previous authorities that states that a person who absconds gives up all rights to fair procedures by the nature of their act. It was held therefore that the State have an obligation to act with reasonable expedition. It was evident that Mr. F could have been arrested by the minimum efforts of the Gardai.
The High Court also ruled that four and a half years is clearly on the wrong side of the dividing line in terms of what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable delay, especially in circumstances where Mr. F took no steps to conceal his whereabouts. The relief sought was granted as it constituted a breach of constitutional justice and the High Court ruled that Mr. F should not be returned to custody.