Jailed man who claims bias by judge secures judicial review


A MAN jailed for eight months on drug charges by District Judge Seán MacBride has alleged remarks by the judge that he would “take the head” off him and “legally bury” him demonstrated bias in the handling of the case.

Kevin Murphy was granted leave by the president of the High Court yesterday to bring a judicial review challenge to the sentence imposed on him at Cavan District Court last month.

The digital recording of the District Court proceedings should be made available to the sides, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns directed.

Murphy, Lisnosarn, Cootehill, had pleaded guilty to having cannabis for sale or supply, contrary to section 15 of the 1977 Misuse of Drugs Act at Dromore, Cootehill, on November 3rd, 2011. A former Defence Forces member, he had no prior convictions.

It was claimed that when sentencing Murphy, Judge MacBride said he had “intelligence” about the accused; that it was not the first time he had come across Murphy, and that he “knew all about him”. The judge also allegedly said, if he were a neighbour of Murphy, “I would take the head off you.” The judge was also alleged to have said he would “legally bury” Murphy until he stopped what he was doing.

Murphy’s lawyers claim the “intelligence” referred to by the judge was not put before the court.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Kearns granted leave to counsel for Mr Murphy to bring judicial review proceedings against Judge MacBride and the DPP. The application for leave was made on an ex-parte (one side only represented) basis.

Murphy is seeking orders quashing the eight-month sentence and restraining Judge MacBride presiding over proceedings against Mr Murphy.

Ronan Munroe, for Mr Murphy, said his client’s solicitor Damien Rudden had, in an affidavit, said Judge MacBride had, when imposing sentence, showed antipathy towards Mr Murphy.