Impeachment process: First judge convicted of serious crime

Wed, Nov 21, 2012, 00:00

A judge convicted of a crime in Ireland may be removed from his or her position only by the Oireachtas.

Judges have been convicted of minor offences in the past, mainly related to road traffic legislation, but Judge Heather Perrin is the first member of the judiciary to be convicted of a serious crime in the history of the State.

The judge is currently on long-term sick leave from her post and she may

appeal her conviction of deception to the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Article 35 of the Constitution states that judges “shall not be removed from office except for stated misbehaviour or incapacity” and “then only upon resolutions passed by Dáil Éireann and by Seanad Éireann calling for his removal”.

No judge has yet been removed from office using this process.

An impeachment process was initiated against former Circuit Court judge Brian Curtin, but was not completed after he resigned from his position in 2006.

Criminal charges against him, related to the possession of child pornography, had been dropped.

Evidence gathered on foot of a warrant could not be used in court because the warrant was out of date.