Death of lawyer Séamus Sorahan


THE DEATH has taken place of leading criminal lawyer Séamus Sorahan SC. He died on Sunday last and was buried in quiet family ceremony on Tuesday.

Often described as “colourful”, he was known for his strong nationalist views and for his defence of republicans, though in the latter years of his career he often prosecuted for the State.

A graduate of UCD, he often contributed to debates in the L and H. Along with former taoiseach Charlie Haughey, he was credited with taking down the Union Jack when it flew over Trinity College on VE day.

One of his best-known cases was the Lawless case in 1961, when he brought Ireland before the European Court of Human Rights challenging the use of internment without trial, which led to the ending of the practice.

He appeared in the Arms Trial in 1970, representing John Kelly.

From the 1980s onwards he was often to be found on the side of the prosecution, and appeared for the State in the Sallins train robbery case.

He was elected a Bencher of the King’s Inns.

In 1983, he was prosecuting counsel in a case where a young gay man was beaten to death in Fairview Park in an act of openly acknowledged ‘‘queer-bashing’’.Controversially, when it came to their sentencing the presiding judge said that there was nothing to be served in sending any of the defendants to jail.

He continued to practise, both prosecuting and defending, up to the end of the 1990s, when he was in his 70s.