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Judge pulls out of CRH case over bias worry

A HIGH Court judge has said he will cease managing a long-running action by Goode Concrete against cement giant CRH and other companies over alleged anti-competitive practises.

It followed concern expressed by the Goode firm that the purchase of CRH shares on behalf of the judge raised a reasonable apprehension of objective bias.

Mr Justice John Cooke yesterday stressed he had told the sides in November 2010, when he took up the case, he had had a CRH shareholding but neither side raised any difficulty with that.

Now that concern had been voiced, the case would have to be transferred to another judge, he said. He said he would adjourn the case generally with liberty to either side to re-enter.

John Hennessy, for Goode Concrete, said he was grateful to the judge for the "candour" with which he had addressed the matter.