Monday 22 January 2018

No-nonsense Judge Paul Carney did the State more service than most

Judge Paul Carney
Judge Paul Carney

Judge Paul Carney has retired from the bench after a long career. In his 24 years sitting in the courts, he presided over some 160 murder and rape cases.

This is more than any judge in the history of the State.

During my career in the force I appeared before him as a garda witness in a number of murder, manslaughter and rape cases.

To me, Mr Justice Carney was always what a judge should be - even-handed, dignified and wise.

He has a brilliant legal mind and was known internationally as a leading criminal lawyer. He was also a much respected academic and an adjunct professor in law.

He demanded and expected the highest professional standards from witnesses, gardai and legal officers in his court.

Judge Carney hardly beamed from the bench, but despite his grumpy demeanour he was a compassionate man.

During his long and distinguished career he was no stranger to controversy himself.

He presided over many notorious cases that included the Lavinia Kerwick rape and the trials of Linda and Charlotte Mulhall, child-killer Wayne O'Donoghue and sex-killer Michael Bambrick.

The judge often found himself in the eye of the storm after some of his sentencing decisions in rape and manslaughter cases.

He also had, at times, a testy relationship with the Court of Criminal Appeal, whose rulings he disagreed with.

Over the years I became acquainted with Paul Carney on a personal level, and when I wrote my book The Sheriff he attended the launch.

Judge Paul Carney has done the State more service than most. I wish him a long and happy retirement.

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