Tuesday 28 January 2020

TD arrested by appointment after missing court hearing

Independent TD Clare Daly. Photo: Tom Burke
Independent TD Clare Daly. Photo: Tom Burke
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent TD Clare Daly has appeared in court after gardaí executed a bench warrant against her.

The Independents 4 Change TD appeared before Swords District Court in relation to a speeding charge in Co Kildare.

Ms Daly met gardaí by arrangement in the vicinity of Swords District Court on Tuesday and was then taken before the judge to execute the warrant.

On Thursday, October 20, a bench warrant was issued for the TD's arrest after she failed to remain in court for a speeding charge.

She turned up to court on the morning, but left again when she saw a large number of people waiting for their cases to be heard before hers.

She appeared at Swords District Court on Tuesday for the sole purposes of the execution of the warrant.

The case has now been referred back to Naas District Court. Ms Daly signed a bail bond in court on Tuesday, committing to her appearance in Naas District court next Wednesday.

Ms Daly, originally from Newbridge in Co Kildare but with an address in Swords, is charged with travelling at 59kph in a 50kph zone at Ballymany, Newbridge, on New Year's Day. She is represented by solicitor Cairbre Finan.

He said Ms Daly had instructed him to plead guilty in her absence.

When her case was called in the afternoon, Mr Finan said his client had been at the court earlier in the morning and chose to leave.

Judge Desmond Zaidan said the defendant had to be present in court or he would issue a bench warrant for her arrest.

The judge asked what Ms Daly did. "She tells me she is a TD," Mr Finan said.

Judge Zaidan said she should know better, because they make the law. He said it was "total disrespect for this court" and "an insult" for her to leave. Mr Finan said no disrespect was intended.

Judge Zaidan said that Ms Daly should have asked the court to leave. "If she has no respect for me as a human being… have a little respect for the office I hold," he added.

Mr Finan asked that the case be adjourned for one week and that a bench warrant not be issued.

Judge Zaidan said he did not adjourn cases in the absence of the defendant when they are legally represented, to protect everyone, including the lawyers and gardaí.

He then issued the bench warrant with discretion and adjourned the matter until November 30.

Speaking after an Agricultural committee meeting, Ms Daly said she had received the summons for motoring offences "out of the blue" last week.

She said she left the court because she was anxious to attend the committee meeting, which was discussing the Horse Racing Ireland affair.

However, she stressed that a solicitor had remained to represent her on her behalf.

"I'll have to go again. We'll sort that out," she said.

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