Donegal Judge and solicitor clash over bail application

A judge and a solicitor clashed today(Wed) over a bail application by a man jailed for four months for road offences.

Defence solicitor Cathal Quinn said that a potential bailsperson was delayed on the way to Glenties District Court when Judge Seamus Hughes recalled that the previous day an unacceptable surety for the jailed man, Martin Ward, arrived in Buncrana court “with hands in pockets singing a tune”.

Mr Quinn said solicitors had no control over how people arrive in court and at that stage the judge said he was striking out the defence application for bail.

A row flared when Mr Quinn, saying he hadn’t an opportunity to make his submission, claimed “this is merely a device to keep my client in prison.”

The judge said he would have Mr Quinn removed from court and the solicitor responded: “I’ll save you the trouble. I’ll leave.”

The judge reminded him to consider his client’s application and the court was adjourned for five minutes.

Later the solicitor said: “We got off on the wrong foot. I respectfully ask you to treat it as water under the bridge.”

The judge said he had been trying to give a history of the case for the gardai who would have to check out the new bailsperson for approval. He said he recognised Ward, of Carraig Craobh, Crievesmith, Letterkenny, had a right to apply for bail when appealing his sentence. But the new bailsperson wasn’t in court on time.

The judge said: “This court does not sit for the consensus of the person who decides to come to court when it suits them.”

Ward was jailed the previous in Buncrana and banned from driving for three years for driving without insurance and other road offences.

Judge Hughes said gardai should have 24 hours to check the background of the surety instead of a few minutes notice as they were given today.

He suggested Mr Quinn could make a bail application for Ward again but he would have to wait until next Wednesday when he is again sitting in his district.

Meanwhile Ward stays in jail.