Saturday 24 March 2018

Ceremony to appoint new High Court president delayed by Jerry Beades challenge

Mr Justice Peter Kelly
Mr Justice Peter Kelly

A ceremony at Aras an Uachtarain to approve the new president of the High Court was delayed for an hour Monday (Dec 21) to allow the hearing of a legal challenge to his appointment which was rejected.

Businessman Jerry Beades sought to prevent Mr Justice Peter Kelly accepting his seal of office from President Michael D Higgins claiming he is unfit to hold the post and there needs first to be a proper examination as to his suitability.

Mr Beades claimed the judge was previously biased when dealing with a case involving him.   He alleged Mr Justice Kelly failed to disclose financial interests in various entities which made applications to his court including Bank of Ireland in which he had previously held shares.

The ceremony in the Aras was due to take place at 3pm but was put off until 4pm after Mr Beades sought a hearing of his application for an interim injunction to prevent it which was rejected by Mr Justice Paul Gilligan.

Jerry Beades
Jerry Beades

He also asked that Mr Justice Gilligan, who supervises the injunction list, not deal with the matter because he (Judge Gilligan) also had shares in Bank of Ireland.

Mr Justice Gilligan said he did not see that as a reason for not dealing with the case as the shares he had in the bank were worth at most a thousand euro.   When Mr Beades persisted, the judge asked how many shares he thought he had, Mr Beades replied "300,000".

The judge said: "That is complete nonsense" and said he was going to proceed to hear the case.

Following submissions by Mr Beades and Eoin Fitzsimons SC, who on behalf of the State sought to have it struck out as an abuse of process, the judge rejected Mr Beades application and awarded costs against him.

He said the application had been designed to cause acute embarrassment to Judge Kelly "on the day that is in it".

He refused an application for a stay on his judgment.  Later, Mr Beades returned before him and asked for a copy of his order and his judgment as he had gone to the Supreme Court to seek to appeal and had been told he would need these documents before he could lodge his appeal.

Mr Justice Kelly is due to be sworn in by the Chief Justice in the Supreme Court at 11am Tuesday (Dec 22).

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