Judge asked to withdraw comment on Muslim case

‘Muslims think they can actually beat their wives,’ Judge Anthony Halpin was reported as saying

Tallaght District Court judge Anthony Halpin, who has been asked to withdraw or clarify his “intemperate remarks”. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh.

Tallaght District Court judge Anthony Halpin, who has been asked to withdraw or clarify his “intemperate remarks”. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh.

 


Tallaght District Court judge Anthony Halpin has been asked to withdraw or clarify his comment following a case in which the defendant was charged with contravening a protection order by allegedly entering the home of his former wife and threatening her with a knife.

“Muslims think they can actually beat their wives,” Judge Halpin was reported as saying.

Mark Kelly, director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), said the case had shone further light on the need for a judicial council Bill, a part of which would provide mechanisms to deal with complaints against the conduct of judges.


Long-awaited
The Bill is long-awaited and remains on the Government’s latest legislation programme.

“Intemperate remarks like this from the bench highlight yet again the urgent need to bring forward the judicial council Bill and to put in place appropriate means to process complaints against members of the judiciary who fail to show full respect for all members of the public who appear before them,” Mr Kelly said.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland described the judge’s remarks as “disappointing, wrong and offensive” and requested he withdraw or clarify them immediately.

“People in positions of authority in the community have a particular duty not to feed racism or xenophobia – this applies to politicians, local media commentators and members of the judiciary,” a spokesman said.


‘Misconceptions’
The Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, which aims to address “misconceptions that distort the image of Islam”, said that in this case it was restricted in what it could say due to the limited nature of the comments as reported in the media.

Spokesman Dr Ali Selim explained he was “not fully aware of the full context of what was said” but added: “I firmly believe that a woman’s position is a source of pride for every Muslim woman according to Islam.”

Judge Halpin made his remark as he was dealing with a Somali man accused of burgling his now divorced wife’s house.

Khadar Younis (46), Belfry Hall, Citywest, had pleaded not guilty to burglary, contravening a protection order and possession of a knife at an address at Fernwood Avenue, Springfield, Tallaght, on May 10th, 2013.