Muslims who Don't Like Freedom should 'F**k Off': Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb 23:17 Jan 08 2 comments
Uk government internet porn filter adviser up on child porn charges 21:33 Mar 10 3 comments
Tom Gilmartin -Key Planning Tribunal Witness -dies and is buried 22:40 Nov 27 0 comments
Couple want IRA conviction quash decision made public 16:11 Apr 19 2 commentsmore >>
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
On the ?Unelectable? Jeremy Corbyn Tue Jul 28, 2015 15:28 | Ian Maleney
Reality and Myth of the US ?Internet Revolution? ? And its lessons for China Wed Jul 22, 2015 13:45 | John Ross
Ghosts of Alternatives Past Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:28 | Helena Sheehan
No Country for Young People Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:14 | Michael Taft
Strengthen Ties with the People and Maneuver Cleverly: The Tasks of the Greek Ra... Wed Jul 15, 2015 14:22 | Christos Kefalis
For lefties too stubborn to quit
British Labour? 03:07 Thu Jul 30, 2015 | WorldbyStorm
RENUA news! They?ve just lost a councillor. 19:15 Wed Jul 29, 2015 | WorldbyStorm
Polling in Greece 18:22 Wed Jul 29, 2015 | WorldbyStorm
Minimum wage woes? on the right. 15:06 Wed Jul 29, 2015 | WorldbyStorm
What shying ?away from clearly advocating non-payment of the water charges? looks like?. 12:33 Wed Jul 29, 2015 | irishelectionliterature
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting
THE WRATH OF KANE: BANKING CRISES AND POLITICAL POWER 09:32 Fri Jan 30, 2015
ALWAYS THE ARTISTS: WEEK THREE OF THE BANK INQUIRY 23:11 Thu Jan 22, 2015
FIANNA FÁIL AND THE BANK INQUIRY : SOME INITIAL OBSERVATIONS 21:04 Mon Jan 12, 2015
PETER NYBERG BANK INQUIRY EVIDENCE, 17 DECEMBER 2014 18:05 Sun Dec 28, 2014
For Some Vicious Mole of Nature: Making Sense of The Irish Bank Crisis 21:07 Fri Dec 26, 2014
Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake
Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake
Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake
Sensation out of court! Circuit Court Judge called to task at Public Talk
Gives "interesting" views on jury system! Problem of unemployed and retired jurors raised.
The talk began at 6pm in the Charles Parson's Theatre in the University. Most of the audience were either studying law or teaching it. There was brief introduction listing Judge Moran's career path from a solicitor in 1970, to being a barrister, and then a judge. After this the judge briefly outlined the different tiers of the courts system in Ireland: District Court, Circuit Court, High Court, Supreme Court.
He said that there was a culture of expediency in the Circuit Court, where a case could be heard in a week that might take months to argue in the High Court.
He then spoke about the different parties in the Supreme Court: solicitors; barristers; jurors; witnesses; and the judge.
Given the audience he had (mostly aspiring solicitors and barristers) his discussion of solicitors and barristers was limited to comparing and contrasting them as careers rather than their functions in court. He also told his audience that they “probably know more law than [he] does, as one forgets so much of it after graduation, but compensates for this with experience and practice.”
Judge Moran had some interesting things to say about jurors though! He described the Jury System as a slow, expensive system that evolved by accident. He also said that “the jury system is not something we would invent if we were starting from scratch today”. He disagreed with the view expressed by some that a Jury is somehow the “democracy on the ground” of the judicial system.
He explained how in earlier times jurors had to be householders, “people who were considered safe, and reasonably pro-establishment.” He said that now many such people will beg to be excused from jury duty because of work, children or holidays, and that “juries tend to be mostly made up of unemployed or retired people”.
Judge Moran went on to inform us that, unlike days of old, juries can no longer be punished by the judge for returning a verdict that the judge disagrees with (what he referred to as a “perverse judgement.' He outlined the case of Crown v William Penn (Quaker who founded the State of Pennsylvannia) where the Judge had the jury locked up for not agreeing with him. “Nowadays of course, if a jury acquits someone that the judge knows is guilty then we have to live with the perverse judgement.”
He also cited the case of DPP vs. Mark Davis where the Judge directed the jury to find the defendant guilty. This was found to be unlawful by the Supreme Court.
In relation to the perception that a judge “seems to be able to [do] anything he likes” Judge Moran assured us that this was not true. We were told that a court room is “like a gold fish bowl, where the judge’s actions and words are seen by all, and if he makes a mistake or is incompetent, then the whole court will see him for what he is.”
He advised that a good judge is one who listens and the ones who get into trouble are the ones who pre-empt things. In contrast, he said, a jury does not have to give reasons for its decisions, but if a jury were to acquit a guilty person it “would be sending a message to the government and the legislature.”
He then by compared the judiciary to the Papacy. “Stalin asked how many battalions did the Pope have? Of course the Pope has no battalions, but he has moral authority'. Likewise, 'the Chief Justice’s ability to enforce the law [was] dependant on the the good will of the Public at Large and nothing else.”
Finishing, Judge Moran reminded us that liberal democracy survived the 20th century by the skin of its teeth and that we should not take any of our hard-won rights for granted.
The floor was then opened for questions.
The first was from an aspiring legal eagle who asked about the idea of fusing the professions of solicitors and barristers.
The second question was a bit less career minded and a bit more probing.
The chair quickly went on to the last question, which was about mandatory sentencing.
Judge Moran left immediately after giving a brief answer and didn’t stick around to mingle with the Law Society members.
We had a list of other questions in relation to judicial conduct, but we knew we had done well to publicly press a judge on just one of them.