Thursday 24 May 2018

Bail for man accused of attack on judge in family law hearing

Judge Miriam Walsh Pic: Courts Collins
Judge Miriam Walsh Pic: Courts Collins

Tom Tuite

A 31-YEAR-OLD man accused of attacking a judge following a court hearing in Dublin has been granted bail on condition he signs on twice daily at a garda station.

He is accused of attacking Judge Miriam Walsh who was hospitalised after she was allegedly punched and kicked following a district court hearing on December 11 last.

Dublin District Court heard today that bail has been be taken up by the accused who had been remanded in custody at an earlier stage. It was the man's fifth appearance since being charged.

Court Gda Sergeant Niall Gillooly told Judge John Cheatle that directions from the DPP need to be obtained. The accused, who took up bail on December 29th, sat silently as the court heard that the investigation file has been sent to the office of the DPP and progress would be expected in five weeks.

Gda Sergeant Gillooly objected to an application by the defence to amend the signing-on requirement imposed on the defendant as a condition of bail. He said that it had been one of the reasons why bail had been granted.

Judge Cheatle said he would not interfere with the existing conditions and adjourned the case until March. Directions from the DPP are required to help determine if the case should be dealt with in the jurisdiction of the District Court or instead should go forward to the Circuit Court, which has tougher sentencing powers.

The defendant, who has not yet entered a plea, was remanded on continuing bail. The court heard today that he is currently unemployed but is looking for work or maybe resume his education.

His other bail conditions state he must stay away from the Dolphin House district court building in the city-centre where he allegedly assaulted and caused harm to Judge Miriam Walsh on December 11th last. He has to reside at an address furnished to the court and notify gardai of any change of residence.

Judge Miriam Walsh had been presiding over a case involving two parents and their adult son in which a protection order was sought; the proceedings were at the district court in Dolphin House in central Dublin.

The judge was allegedly punched and kicked and brought to hospital however her injuries were not serious and she was later released.

Gardai arrested the man and he was later charged with assault causing harm to Judge Walsh.

He was held in custody overnight and brought to appear before Dublin District Court the following day. Det Gda Francis Byrne had then said the man “made no reply” when he was charged with the offence.

At his first hearing on December 12th, the court had heard it was alleged Judge Miriam Walsh had been assaulted in court and was punched and kicked, and suffered bruising.

The garda agreed with defence solicitor Peter Connolly that the defendant had never been in trouble before and has no history of bench warrants for failing to attend hearings.

Mr Connolly had said the defendant, who is from Dublin, has Asperger syndrome and was vulnerable.

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