Sunday 18 February 2018

Daly brands judge who issued bench warrant 'ludicrous'

TD Clare Daly arrives in court
TD Clare Daly arrives in court
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Independent TD Clare Daly has launched an unprecedented attack on the judge who issued a bench warrant for her arrest when she failed to appear before a court hearing on a speeding charge.

Ms Daly labelled Judge Desmond Zaidan's decision to issue a warrant as "ludicrous" and claimed he was "causing huge problems with regard to the administration of justice".

She claimed the judge singled her out for a bench warrant after she left Naas District Court three weeks ago.

Yesterday, she was fined €300 for the speeding offence and was accused of showing a "total disrespect for the law" by Mr Justice Zaidan.

The judge said he issued the warrant because Ms Daly's solicitor did not offer a reason for his client leaving the court.

He also accused her of abusing the court process by changing her plea to not guilty while "not having the courtesy to tell the courts why".

Last night, during a Dáil debate on judicial appointment, Ms Daly then attacked Mr Justice Zaidan, saying her case was an example of the "outrageous decisions" made in the courts.

Ms Daly said she got a summons to appear before Naas District Court for "allegedly" breaking the speed limit.

She said the case was not down for a full hearing the day she appeared and was listed as 188 on the court schedule.

Ms Daly said the judge is known for "religiously" hearing cases in the order they appear on his list. On the day, she watched the cases being heard until lunch time before instructing her solicitor and leaving.

She claimed the judge reached the 175th case by the end of the sitting but then "jumped" to her case and called her solicitor before the court to explain his client's absence.

"I watched how the judge had dealt with the cases there before me, saw cases where people had not turned up on similar charges, did not have a solicitor on similar charges and no bench warrants or any proceedings were dealt with," she said.

"I had to listen to the same judge lecturing me about respecting his court, not giving me an opportunity to say anything about his irrational decision."

Irish Independent

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