Monday 19 March 2018

David Norris: My lawyers won’t let me release letters

Senator David Norris
Dana Rosemary Scallon has announced her intention to seek a nomination for the upcoming Presidential election
Presidential candidate Gay Mitchell. Photo: Tony Gavin
Michael D Higgins. Photo: Frank McGrath
Martin McGuinness. Photo: Frank McGrath
Presidential candidate Mary Davis. Photo: Tony Gavin
Entrepreneur Sean Gallagher. Photo: Damien Eagers reporters

PRESIDENTIAL candidate David Norris today claimed that he could not release the clemency letters he wrote for his former partner convicted of statutory rape due to legal advice.

He said that he could prejudice a court case that was held in camera by doing so – despite the fact that the case was held in Israel in 1997.

“At the heart of this case 15 or 20 years ago was a 15-year-old boy, a victim, a man who had attempted to take his own life and at serious risk and a case held in camera. I have been legally advised that I could prejudice the situation as it was held in camera,” Senator Norris said on the News At One Presidential debate.

Earlier today he told Pat Kenny: “My legal team have told me there is client confidentiality and legal privilege. The core of the letters is substantially the same. It’s standard practice. I’ve done thousands of these, for Tibetan monks, for people in East Timor...Irish people just want to move on,” he said.

Senator Norris said he had dealt with the matter on several occasions and he had publicly apologised for his ‘error of judgement’, he said claiming that he was ‘the most transparent person in politics today’.

After he won his fourth Council backing to get on the Presidential ballot last night there were further calls on Senator Norris to release the controversial letters he wrote appealing for leniency for his former lover Ezra Nawi after he was convicted of the statuatory rape of a 15-year-old Palestinian boy.

He said today that he would look into reading the letters into the record of the Senate and said that he hoped he would not be embarrassed by anything he had written.

But he said he had been told he was restricted by issues of privacy and said the victim was in his 30s now. “Do you think this man wants this matter raised now?” he asked.

He said he was not attacking journalists and he knew they had their job to do, but he wanted to move on.

Senator Norris released one letter he wrote on behalf of Mr Nawi in August when he withdrew from the campaign, but he is holding a further seven letters he wrote to powerful people in Ireland and Israel.

The matter of the letters dominated Senator Norris’s media appearances today.

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