Garda inquiry into claim judge took thousands of euro in court case bribe
…Garda inquiry into claim judge took thousands of euro in court case bribe
Gardaí are examining an accusation a former judge received a bribe in connection with a court case.© Getty Justice in Ireland. Wooden gavel in lawyer office
The allegation is being investigated by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau following a complaint from a party involved in a civil case.
They alleged the judge received a financial inducement from a party they were suing in the matter around the time the case was being heard.
The judge is said to have subsequently made decisions which were against the party who has made the bribery complaint.
It is alleged the inducement amounted to tens of thousands of euro.
The allegation relates to a historical case and the judge involved is now retired.
The judge at the centre of the allegations had a long and distinguished career and denies any wrongdoing.
Officers first received a complaint in late 2018 and have examined the matter over the past year or so.
It is understood a number of potential witnesses have been approached by gardaí, but the complaint is still being assessed.
It has not been given the status of a criminal investigation and has not been assigned a Pulse number.
According to a source familiar with the matter, the assessment has been prolonged because of difficulties posed by the pandemic.
The interviewing of potential witnesses has yet to conclude.
A decision on whether a formal investigation is warranted will be made once the assessment is finished.
It is understood that, to date, the assessment has not revealed evidence suggesting any crime was committed by the judge.
The complainant has expressed concerns to gardaí about the progress of the assessment, via their solicitors.
However, gardaí have provided assurances the matter is receiving ongoing attention.
It is the second time in recent years that serious criminal allegations have been made about a member of the judiciary.
Two years ago two women made complaints about a judge. One claimed she was sexually assaulted by the judge after they met at a book launch in a hotel.
The second woman alleged the judge abused his powers by inappropriately and repeatedly contacting her after she appeared in his court to seek a barring order against her husband.
She claimed the judge contacted her by text and by phone, expressing a wish to meet her and describing her as “very beautiful”.
The two criminal complaints were made separately, and the two women have no connection with each other.
Neither complaint resulted in criminal charges.
Both women subsequently complained about the garda investigations to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.
The commission cleared gardaí of any wrongdoing in their handling of the first case.
In the second case the woman claimed she was not asked to provide a statement until three months after her initial complaint.