22 October 2005

'Paedo' Curtin to mount Supreme Court challenge this week

Irish Independent

**He should be mounting the steps to a prison cell

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CIRCUIT Court Judge Brian Curtin is to mount a Supreme Court challenge to the procedures that were put in place by the Oireachtas to investigate and decide upon his suitability as a judge.

Seven judges will on Monday begin hearing Judge Curtin's appeal against the High Court's rejection of his challenge to the mechanism adopted by the Oireachtas to investigate his alleged misbehaviour.

This is the first time the Supreme Court has been asked to rule on the powers of the Oireachtas to investigate a judge for 'stated misbehaviour.'

If Judge Curtin loses the appeal he will face legal bills amounting to €600,000.

LEGAL BILLS

Judge Curtin will be represented by three senior counsel in the appeal which has been listed for three days.

The State will be represented by two senior counsel and the Oireachtas Committee by one senior counsel.

The Judge suffered a legal defeat last May when the High Court dismissed his application to prevent an All Party Oireachtas Committee from accessing his computer.

In April 2004 Judge Curtin he was acquitted of possessing child pornography, when it emerged that a warrant under which his computer was seized was out of date.

Last May Mr Justice Thomas Smyth in the High Court found the Oireachtas was within its powers in ordering an investigation and the procedures put in place were fair and within the law.

The Circuit Court Judge's appeal will centre on the construction of Article 35 of the Constitution which deals with the appointment and removal of judges from office.

This will be the first time that the Supreme Court will be asked to decide on the precise meaning of Article 35 and whether the procedures set up by the Oireachtas in relation to Judge Curtin conform with it for the purposes of removal of a judge.

The State will contend the establishment by the Oireachtas of a Joint Committee to investigate the alleged misbehaviour respects Judge Curtin's rights and allows him to put his case. Those claims will be disputed by Judge Curtin's lawyers.

Ann O'Loughlin


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