Judge refuses to refer request for Irish language hearing to High Court
Cllr Diarmaid Ó Cadhla says is entitled to have criminal damage charges heard in Irish
Cllr Diarmaid Ó Cadhla. File photograph: People’s Convention
Mr Ó Cadhla, who is charged with five counts of criminal damage over the blacking out of Queen Victoria’s name from street signs in Cork, maintained he was entitled to have his case heard in Irish.
Speaking in Irish with interpreter Sean Ó Luasa translating his application for Judge Kelleher, Mr Ó Cadhla argued there was case law which entitled him to be tried in Irish by a judge fluent in Irish.
He cited the case of Peadar Ó Maicín vs Ireland to have his case heard entirely in Irish, and asked Judge Kelleher to refer the issue to the High Court for adjudication solely on the languages issue.
But Judge Kelleher said that while Mr Ó Cadhla was entitled to give his evidence in Irish and cross-examine witnesses in Irish, he was not entitled to have the case heard entirely in Irish.
Urged to seek legal advice
He refused to accede to Mr Ó Cadhla’s request to refer the matter to the High Court, and urged him to seek legal advice on both the language issue and the criminal damage charges he was facing.
Mr Ó Cadhla had applied for free legal aid but when Judge Kelleher noted he had failed to declare any business interests, Mr Ó Cadhla said he was withdrawing his application for free legal aid.
Judge Kelleher adjourned the matter until December 18th to allow Mr Ó Cadhla to indicate whether he was pleading guilty or contesting the matter, in which case a date will be fixed for trial.
According to the group, “to honour the name of Victoria, the Famine Queen, in the street names of Cork is an insult to the dignity of the famine victims and to the self-respect of the people today”.
In a statement issued last month, Mr Ó Cadhla described the painting out of Queen Victoria’s name from the street signs in Cork as “an act of civil disobedience and an act of conscientious objection”.
Mr Ó Cadhla is charged with two counts of criminal damage at Victoria Road, two counts of criminal damage at Victoria Cross and one count of criminal damage at Victoria Street, all in Cork city.
The state alleges Mr Ó Cadhla, of Upper Beaumont Drive, Cork, committed criminal damage at all three locations on February 2nd, 2017, contrary to Section 2 (1) of the Criminal Damage Act 1991.
Judge Kelleher remanded both men to appear again at Cork District Court on January 19th, 2018, when the case will be heard after both men indicated they would be contesting all five charges.