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Editorial: Ministers meddling in justice

AS our exclusive story reveals today, a junior minister attempted to interfere with a criminal case by making representations to the gardai. Trevor Sargent wrote to law officials about the case of a man who was being prosecuted for assault.

As unsavoury as it might seem, it is not unusual for politicians to speak on behalf of clients before the courts. It is unusual that they would do so in an attempt to have the process delayed.

Bobby Molloy resigned under a cloud of controversy almost a decade ago when it was found he had made representations to a judge on behalf of a man who was due to be sentenced for rape. Mr Molloy's behaviour was deemed improper, even though it related to interference after the case had been prosecuted.

That a junior minister should today feel he can make representations on behalf of someone before the case has come to court should spark deep concern in the entire political establishment.