Woman to sue judge who ‘sought romance’ after she appeared in his court
September 28 2021 03:54 AM
A woman is expected to issue legal proceedings against a judge she claims abused his position by seeking a sexual relationship with her.
The judge, now retired, is alleged to have contacted the woman after she appeared in his court for a review of a protection order she had against her husband.
A pre-action letter was sent by the woman’s solicitors to the State Claims Agency (SCA) last week, the Irish Independent has learned.
The correspondence claims the judge misused her personal data for improper and personal purposes, namely the pursuit of “sexual fantasies”.
It also claims state bodies failed to take appropriate action after the woman complained to them about the judge’s conduct.
The woman’s allegations were highlighted in the Dáil last July. Using parliamentary privilege, People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy said the former judge, who he did not name, texted and called the woman persistently and pressured her to meet him.
The TD said the woman met him “out of fear” and “it became very clear that he was not interested in anything to do with the case but in pursuing a sexual relationship”.
Mr Murphy said she subsequently made complaints to An Garda Síochána and the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) but “got no justice” over the “blatant and gross abuse of power”.
In the pre-action letter, the woman’s solicitors KRW Law asked the SCA to accept liability for the alleged actions of the judge and state bodies.
The firm said that if “a satisfactory” response was not forthcoming, it had instructions to issue High Court proceedings.
According to the letter, the matter is unlikely to be suitable for the Personal Injuries Assessment Board as it includes claims for damages for breaches of data protection rights and constitutional rights to privacy and a fair trial.
The anticipated proceedings would be against the former judge, the Courts Service, the Justice Minister, Ireland and the Attorney General.
According to the letter, during the barring order review hearing the judge requested the telephone numbers of the woman and her husband.
At 4pm that afternoon, the woman returned a missed phone call from an unknown number and the caller introduced himself as the judge.
She asked if anything was wrong with the case, to which he is alleged to have replied that everything was fine and that he just wanted to talk.
The judge is alleged to have said she “looked very beautiful today” and that he would like to meet for coffee.
The woman was said to have been shocked by the call. There were further calls and texts and she eventually agreed to meet him at his courthouse.
He brought her to a nearby pub. She believed his body language clearly indicated that he was pursuing an inappropriate romantic relationship.
It is alleged the judge told the woman his wife could not know anything about their meeting, which ended when he received a phone call calling him back to court.
When the judge phoned her again, she said she was busy with her children. After that, there were no more calls.
The letter said that, at the time, the woman felt unable to discuss the judge’s behaviour with her legal team. She feared she would receive an unfavourable decision. Ultimately the judge extended the protection order.
The woman later became aware another woman had made a complaint of sexual assault against the judge.
At this point she contacted gardaí but her complaint was initially dismissed as “a normal situation, boy meets girl”.
She persisted but ultimately gardaí concluded no crime had occurred despite her claims the judge had engaged in “extortion”, “sextortion” or “bribery”.
GSOC later found no evidence gardaí had mishandled her complaint.
The Garda watchdog also decided there was no criminal element to the matter and ruled out further action.