herald

Monday 16 October 2017

Gardai probing death threats to High Court judge

GARDAI are investigating telephone death threats made to a well-known High Court judge.

Mr Justice Paul Carney received the threat - where the person threatened to shoot him and his wife - on a voicemail.

The male caller also made reference to the judge, who heads up the Central Criminal Court, granting bail to a sex offender.

Gardai are examining whether the threat may have come from one of the many defendants the judge has dealt with over the years.

The message was left by an anonymous male caller on the judge's voicemail service in his chambers in the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin.

number

It is not known how the caller got Mr Justice Carney's direct number, as the Courts Service has a strict policy of not giving out judges' contact details.

A well-placed source said that the threats "were made against his home and his family".

It is understood investigators are concentrating on a possible connection with a sexual offence case which was recently heard by Mr Justice Carney, during which the judge temporarily granted the attacker bail before later imposing a jail sentence.

The judge appeared to make reference to the threats during a recent hearing of the case.

He said a certain voice had been picked up on the court's digital audio recording system during a previous hearing of the case. Mr Justice Carney asked that person to identify themselves.

When a woman in the victim's party stood up and said she had said something, the judge told her it was a male voice he was looking for.

It is understood that gardai are investigating if the voice picked up on the court recording matches that of the person who left the message.

penalty

The caller may face charges of making threats to kill or cause harm, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

They could also be held in contempt of court by Mr Justice Carney for attempting to influence a court's decision.

During his 23 years on the bench, Mr Justice Carney has dealt with well over 100 murder trials and a similar number of rape trials.

He has imposed lengthy sentences on some of the country's most notorious rapists and killers, including Larry Murphy and the infamous "scissor sisters", Linda and Charlotte Mulhall

hnews@herald.ie

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