Dutchy fails to show credentials of Italian lawyer
Ann O'Loughlin PATRICK 'Dutchy' Holland was yesterday criticised by the Chief Justice for failing to establish the professional credentials of his Italian lawyer, Giovanni Di Stefano.
Chief Justice John Murray was also highly critical of Mr Di Stefano.
He said the lawyer had written directly to him and added it was improper for any person, and unprofessional for a lawyer, to write directly to any judge concerning proceedings which were pending before him.
The Chief Justice directed that Mr Di Stefano should lodge an affidavit with the Court of Criminal Appeal giving basic information on his legal and professional qualifications.
In a judgment, the Chief Justice said there was no response to this simple request and "no attempt to put in an affidavit one iota concerning his credentials".
He went on: "There is no obstacle to Mr Di Stefano acting in relation to a case before these courts. All he has to do is to produce his professional and educational qualification as directed.
"Should he do that he will be accorded the same standing and courtesy that is given to any Irish lawyer appearing before our courts. That he has failed to do. Such obstacle as there is is of his own making."
He said Mr Di Stefano had also written letters to the registrar and to another judge. "The one thing he has not done is provide one piece of paper from a professional body authenticating his legal qualifications. As far as I am aware he has never done so anywhere. The letters included scandalous and unfounded statements.
"I can only conclude that he has raised these issues for the purpose of distracting from the real question, namely his professional qualifications."
The Chief Justice refused to allow Holland a two-month adjournment in his bid to have a conviction for having explosives in 1989 quashed.
Holland was seeking to adjourn his appeal against his conviction for possession of explosives in Dublin on April 6, 1989, for which he received a seven-year term. Holland is due to be released from prison on April 7 and asked for the court to adjourn his appeal proceedings until then.
Holland (66) was also convicted of possession of cannabis by the non-jury Special Criminal Court in November 1997.
The court imposed a 20-year sentence but that was later reduced on appeal to 12 years.
The Chief Justice said Holland had sought the adjournment because he claimed he will have a better opportunity to consult his lawyer when he is released from prison on April 7. "He has failed to establish that the lawyer specified by him is in fact a lawyer."
Chief Justice Murray said he did not see any reason for giving the case special treatment and directed it should take its ordinary place in the list before the Court of Criminal Appeal.